Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Change is good? Not always...

Hello, my name is Lazy, and I work for the government. Not the Bad Government, like the IRS or the local (city-owned) electric company, but the Okay Government. I am basically the Probation Office. Anything court related, we help you navigate it and come out the other side. Traffic tickets? DUI? Shoplifting? Attempted murder? Yeah, I've seen all you guys.

Well, working in a service-based location, like we are, the Director decided that we needed to be open non-standard hours, so starting tomorrow, we are going to be opening at 7am (instead of 8:30), and on Tuesdays and Thursdays, closing at 6pm (instead of 5).  However, to do that, there are some clerical/admin positions that will need to be adjusted.  Some people adjusted their schedules to work 4-10 hour shifts. Some people will come in at 7, and leave at 3. I will need to come in later on Tuesday and Thursday, to cover for the people who leave at 3. 

Seems fair. Seems like it won't be too much of an issue.  Two days a week, I'll just work until 6pm.

Here's the problem - Tuesdays and Thursdays are my run days. I already had a tight schedule BEFORE this change... this is going to throw a huge wrench in my plans. 

So, what should I do? 

I could run in the morning?  Maybe; I drive hubby to work, and if he works at 7am, I could fit in 20 minutes before I have to take the kiddo to school, then I can shower and get ready for work when I get back.

I could run after work, still?  I would get home around 6:15, and after changing, would be on the treadmill by 6:30. That would push dinner back to at least 7:45. Which would push back BED to almost 9pm.  I don't want to eat dinner at almost 8 at night.

I could change my run days?  It would be easy to swap Monday for Tuesday, but Thursday is a sticky point; Wednesdays are my bi-weekly massage therapy days, so I would have to do Wednesday one week, and possibly Friday the following week, and Fridays are my NO GO FOR ANYTHING days.  I come home, I put on sweat pants, I grab my book and I CHILL.  I really don't want to give up my Fridays.

I could keep my run days and have hubby or the kiddo cook dinner?  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAHA! Ah, that was a good laugh, I needed that....

So, that's where we are right now. I am going to try my damndest to make this work, but I'm not optimistic.  This IS just a 'trial' run (the hours change), so maybe it will suck, and we'll go back to normal in a few months?


Monday, June 22, 2015

More shelves are better shelves! Check out my new bookshelves!


For a long time, I've been making due with two small 3-shelf Mainstays bookshelves from Walmart. They were still usable and sturdy (I bought about a dozen of them when we moved into our first apartment in 2000, and they've been repurposed everywhere since then), but I wanted more space. Over the years, I cobbled together additional shelves to put ON TOP of these shelves (two of them came from the estate of a deceased coworker; weird, I know).

Mainstays 3-Shelf Bookcase, as seen in any college dorm or starter home

I thought about my options - did I want to buy premade shelves? Did I want to mess with the standard and bracket of it all with ClosetMaid?  I wanted to be able to maximize my small area, but I couldn't afford the ClosetMaid.

So, I decided to just upgrade my Mainstays.  I have a 5-shelf in the kitchen and another in the dining room. I've put together about a bajillion shelves in my day. No big deal.

Mainstays 5-Shelf Bookcase, as seen in my kitchen, dining room and home office

But...

As you can see, those shelves are spread wide apart.  Paperbacks are small and I didn't want to deal with the loss of space between the bottom of the shelf and the short books.  I would need 4 shelves to hold all my books if I did that!

Wait! Eureka!!

How about I just add more shelves!?!

After buying the two shelves at Walmart ($27.84 each, plus tax), I took one of the MDF boards to Home Depot to see if I could find some boards about the same size and thickness.

I settled on a long board ($14.74 each, plus tax) that I had ripped down into 4 boards, and 2 remnants (to use as tiny display shelves later).

I also bought a gallon of white paint ($23.97) so they would match the existing shelves- I could have gotten away with a quart, but I wasn't sure how much I needed, and some shelf support pins ($3.94) to hold up my new shelves.

So, after a week long purge of books - where I took about 250 to the local Friends of the Library donation box - it was time to begin!

The picture is decieving - this had THREE layers of books, so about 100 books.
Plus more bags up front (and some more in the back that I didn't photograph)
First, I put together the two shelves. As you can see, one of them is not square.  Hubby 'assisted' me with one of them, and I did the other on my own. I'll let you decide which one of us put the good one together...

Luckily, it's not so UNsquare as to annoy me, and frankly I could just screw them together, if I wanted to.

Pro Tip - Organize everywhere (there's an Over-the-Door 7 shelf behind the door!)

Anyone who has ever put cheap bookshelves together are familiar with the rows of holes. Well, as you can see, there are sections of the bookshelves that didn't have holes.  Turd. I wasn't expecting that... That puts a damper on this plan!

Welp... What seemed to be a very simple project just became a bit more difficult
DIY to the rescue!  I remember seeing somewhere (who knows, I watch too much TV and surf the internet way too much...) people using wax paper as templates.  So, to the kitchen I went and grabbed my wax paper and found some blue painter's tape in the storage room.

I ripped off a piece of wax paper and taped it over the existing holes to use as a guide.

I decided this was bloggable about halfway into the project - I'd already done some holes here
Using the existing holes, I colored the wax paper with a Sharpie to show where the new holes should be.

Top two holes will be drilled, the other holes are the pre-made ones

Then I moved the paper (either up or down, depending on where I needed the holes) and aligned one set of drawn-on holes with THE EXISTING HOLES to ensure that the remaining holes would be evenly spaced.

Using more blue tape, I very scientifically measured the depth of the shelf pin - by holding it up to the drill - and putting a piece of tape on the bit itself. This was to ensure that I went the proper depth and no further (spoiler alert - sometimes it didn't work).

Don't drill any deeper than the depth of the pin, or your drill will shoot out the side of the shelf!
Once the drawing and taping was done, it was drill baby drill time.  Drill 3 rows, move the template. Drill 3 more, move the template.  The templates were side-specific, so that took more time to deal with (couldn't just have one template and blaze through it all!)

I really wish I'd thought of this plan BEFORE putting the shelves together - it would have been much easier!
Here you can see how I drilled THROUGH the wax paper, and the dots representing more holes below
Once all the holes were drilled, I could install the shelves! 

Well, wouldn't ya know it - the shelf pins I bought don't fit in the pre-drilled holes; they only fit in the holes that I drilled. That kind of puts a small damper on my plan, because I can only put the new shelves in the new holes with the new pins, and the pre-made shelves in the pre-made holes with the pre-made pins. 

After some Tetris-like fitting, I was able to get the shelves assembled more or less to my liking.  They aren't all the same height because I wanted to accommodate taller books on one shelf, rather than interspersing the taller books within the small paperbacks. I organize my books in alphabetical order, just like a library:  Michael Connelly A - Z; Stephen King A - Z; Dean Koontz A - Z; etc.  If I tried to fit 11/22/63, for instance, amid all the other paperbacks, there would be wasted space. So the tall books are up on the top shelf.

Ugh, all that sawdust... But the shelves look pretty good!
Now, it's time to load up the shelves!

I tried my hardest, when unpacking the shelves, to keep all of them in as close to alphabetical order as possible.  I didn't do a great job, but at least most of the authors were grouped together.

The daunting task of reshelving about 300 books. In alphabetical order.

I gotta say, this was probably the most tedious part of the whole job, but the most satisfying as well. I like order, and getting everying in spit-spot shape was cathartic!

Finished reshelving!  Tall books on top, everything else in alphabetical order.
Between the new shelves being much taller, and getting rid of so many books (many of which were duplicates!), I could have filled only one shelf, if I wanted to!  However, I didn't want the bottom shelf to be pack-jammed to the point that I couldn't see what was down there, so that shelf is only half-way full, and they are all unread books that will be donated once I've read them. Once that shelf is empty, I'll use it for storage for things like printer paper or other odds and ends.

Here is where I have to take an AA moment. Hello, my name is Lazy and I'm addicted to shopping at the Friends of the Library Book Sale. Two times a year, our library has a book sale. It's 5 days. They sell any kind of book you can imagine, including rares and autographed books.  Kids books. DIY books. Recipe books (too many of those to count have come home with me!) Fiction. Fantasy. Young Adult. Dictionaries. But also, VHS, DVDs, books on tape, vinyl and magazines. It's a bibliophiles mecca. The first few days are regular price - generally paperbacks are two bucks or so.  The fourth day is half price (so that same paperback would be a buck). If you are not picky, and love to just fill a bag with books, the final day is DIME DAY. Yes, you can buy a book for a DIME.  I go in, look at the back of a book and if it looks vaguely interesting, I buy it. I don't care about who wrote it or how old it is. I've discovered a lot of writers this way, including Perri O'Shaugnessy, Richard North Patterson, PJ Parrish, John Saul and Michael Palmer.  I try to keep a spreadsheet of what books I have so that I don't get duplicates, but it's not foolproof (as I saw after cleaning off my shelves!)

Anyway - so I have more unread books than I've had time to read recently, and I needed some way to note them, while still putting the books in order (because, after I read them, they will need to be added to the shelf!)

I ended up just using Post-It notes and stuck them on the front of the book.  Later, maybe I'll think of a better solution.

After I read them, I'll decide if I want to keep them or not. If not, they get returned to Friends of the Library!
So, there you go!  I took two basic off the shelf (ha!) shelves and turned them into better bookshelves with some extra wood and some extra time.  I have oodles of storage now for other things besides books too, including my (ever-growing) File Pile, CDs and other random stuff!

(2) Mainstays 5-Shelf Bookshelves $55.68
(2) Boards from Home Depot          $29.48
(1) Gallon Paint, White                    $23.97
(1) Shelf Pins                                   $  3.94
                              Total After Tax - $119.85, or $59.92 per shelf.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Inaugural Beck's 5k Race Report


There's not really much to this race report, since it was a small, inaugural 5k in a small town. I think there was only 100 or so runners, so yeah, SMALL!

I left the house around 6ish, since I wasn't sure how long it would take me to get to Palatka. On the way there, I was treated to a beautiful sunrise, which my horrible camera couldn't do justice. For me, there is just such beauty in an open field and a sunrise!

Beautiful, foggy, 2-lane sunrise!
Fog on open fields with a gorgeous sunrise!
Anyway, I got to Palatka around 7:30, and ended up scoring a great spot (one of the perks of being super-early!)

The starting area is where all those people are
Packet pickup was easy (again, so early!), but they had a lot of kids volunteering, and they couldn't find my shirt, so what would have taken 2 minutes took about 5. No big deal at all for me, but if it kept up when it got busier, that could be a crowd-maker.

Large swag bag!
The swag bag was stuffed full of cool stuff! (I'll go into detail later).

Race shirt, steel water bottle, lots more stuff
Since I'd gotten there so early, I took a pit stop at the potty (literally steps from my car), then wandered around the park.

Water fountain, unfortunately not working
Plaque for Veteran's Memorial Plaza
Is that a big torpedo, or are you happy to see me?
Veteran's Memorial Fountain, looking towards the finish line
Palatka Clock Tower
Start AND Finish Line
There was also a lot of pre-race snackage, and there was a volunteer there to help keep it clean, stocked and organized, which was nice.

Ubr (Ultimate Breakfast Round), bagged cereal, bagged snacks (also, bananas and oranges on the other side)
Dunkin Donuts coffee, Pop-Tarts, granola bars, cereal bars, Welch's fruit snacks
Yummy - Dunkin' Donuts Chocolate Glazed Cake Donut
Lastly, there was a lot of HEAT!!! Seriously, it's already past 70ยบ out here, not a breath of a breeze in the sky, and the humidity is so high, you could wring out the air... Sigh, this will be hard.

After getting my Garmin and my Nike+ going, we lined up and took off!

Mile 1 came up quick (well, kinda quick) and luckily, there was water!  

Mile 1 and Water Stop
While no ARC at Mile 2, there was another water station, which was dearly needed!  Have I mentioned, it's really HOT out here today?

Mile 2, and another water stop!
While there weren't a lot of people out this hot morning to cheer us on, there WERE folks from the ARC (Originally "Association for Retarded Citizens")!  I love being able to see where my race fee goes, and they were all really happy to be out there. 

They're the group with the green shirts
Everyone wave!
With 2/3 of the race under my belt, I was feeling good, and thought that I would be able to finish under 50 minutes. 

I passed Mile 3 and I was in the homestretch, so I gave it just a bit more and trotted on through the finish line.  

Mile 3! Finish is right around the corner

Yay!  I finished under 50 minutes, officially 49:42.  

Almost there....
Boom, finished with a smile!
This pic was taken maybe 10 minutes after I finished, and I was STILL that red in the face!
If you really want to, you can see my sad-ass finish on YouTube, near the 31 minute mark. 

Thank you, race director, or whoever was the smart person who had ice cold water and frosty wet washcloths at the finish line! I plopped a cloth on my head and tried not to pass out and I accepted my medal and chugged that water.

They were so cold, they hurt my teeth
A sopping-wet one of these got plopped right on top of my head, and another one on my chest
After I had cooled down a few minutes, I walked over to the river area and took a fun photo of my cute medal, then I checked out the post-race snackage.

Ooooh, artsy
Wow, there was a hell of a spread!! Quiznos (without veggies on it!), chips, granola bars, leftover donuts, so much snackage!!!

Quizno's Ham and Turkey sammiches, leftover donuts
I watched the awards, and then watched the raffle.

Beck was raffling off a new car!
Yes, they were actually raffling off a brand-new car!  If you brought in 5 canned goods, you got 1 ticket.  You could also buy tickets.  I had no tickets.

Not a bad amount of cans for a tiny race
The trunk was full of bags that had prizes, such as fancy headphones, or portable power chargers, or even gift certificates, and one bag had the car (whoa, so meta).  Unfortunately, no one won the car.

Once the race was over, I headed back to the car and found a gas station I could change clothes at, then headed to Golden Corral for breakfast.  It ended up being brunch, because apparently they put lunch stuff on the buffet all day now? Nothing weirder then fried chicken, mashed potatoes, bacon and macaroni and cheese all on the same plate.

With nothing much else to do in Palatka, once I was fit to bust, I headed home and vegged on the couch!

Oh, and before I forget - check out all the fun swag!!

Beck had given out a bunch of these buckets to local businesses, but they had plenty left over, so we were able to grab one
Sunblock / Aloe, Pens, Cup, Post-Its, Lip Balm, Clip Magnets and aforementioned Steel Water Bottle
A trifecta of can coozies
Generic Lock Laces (with Beck logo!), big Clif Bar
Bumble & Bumble hair care, Welch's fruit snacks, pill container, keychain, carwash coupon, jar opener
Unisex tech tee
BBQ Popped Crisps, Froot Loops, Pop-Tarts, CTC Cereal Bar, more fruit snacks
Post-Its, magnet clips, post-it books
Lens cloth (great for cameras and iThings), sunblock/aloe, measuring tape, keychain flashlight, breathmints
LOTS of different styles of pens (I'm a pen snob and these were GREAT pens!)
Inside of those Post-It note books - Big ones, small ones, tiny ones! I keep it in my purse I always need to jot notes!
Location: Palatka, FL
Host: Beck Ford Dealership
Race Fee: $20
Packet Pickup: Very easy, as it was early
Parking: Very close, as I  got there very early
Support: (on-course): ARC residents were great, 1 water stop
After Party: LOTS of food, lots of awards, raffle, wet washcloths and ice cold water!