Making a reclaimed dresser

I’ve been hunting for a dresser for my son for over a month. Visiting thrift stores and stalking IKEA’s website, while were fun, didn’t net anything realistic. On Friday night, as we rushed in to our 6th thrift store of the evening I saw a filing cabinet. Old, slightly beat up file cabinet. I wondered to myself if it would work. $25? Well, that and a few cans of spray paint would be cheaper than something I’d have to assemble from Target or IKEA. I left the cabinet there but while mind surfing the next day I thought to check the Interwebs to see if it really was as easy as it seemed.


I dropped a tweet and headed out on my mission, Instagramming along the way like a good little digital storyteller.

Step 1!

Step 2!

Sanded, taped, wiped down.

New dresser? Check! #pinteresting

It really was as simple as you’d think it was. Buy a cabinet (turns out it was 1/2 off, so $12!), buy some sandpaper and paint (I bought two spray primer/paint combos that were $6 a can, but you could buy those separately if you wish), remove all hardware you don’t want painted, protect the area your painting (and yourself) and spray away. This took about 2 hours but would have taken a LOT less time if I could have found my palm sander. Be sure to wipe off the sanding dust with a dry cloth, then a slightly damp one. That’s it.

A dresser for $25 that will hold a TON of clothing. It will probably hold toys, too.

I had a friend on Facebook chastise me for buying the cabinet because he has several unused ones at his office he would have given me for free. I think my bonus son wants to make one for his room, too.

My widdle baby

House Baby

Well, this weekend the house felt more like a sick baby and by this morning I was all, “WHAT TIME DOES THE PEDIATRICIAN OPEN?!” We had a house call on Friday, home remedies all weekend and another house call this morning. By the time the week ends (I hope), I think she’ll be squared away with the basics. (Appliances fully functioning, plumbing, Internet.) It’s stressin’ me out.

Progress is being made, though. Slowly but surely. We celebrated a working washer and dryer by processing 4 jumbo loads of laundry . We celebrated the finishing of the den by opening a bottle of wine and curling up for a sci fi DVD on Saturday night. (Yes, with a film festival raging downtown.) Tomorrow the plumbers return for Round 2 of “correcting the previous resident’s shortcuts” and later this week we hope to have the new dishwasher installed. Just as soon as we buy one.

I’m jonesing pretty hard for a trip to IKEA, so that might happen one upcoming weekend if we can borrow or rent the right sized vehicle for the task. There are so many things IKEA has that are so inexpensive and delightfully simple. There is no peer in Oklahoma. Also, I am out of lingonberry jam.

Friday, June 1.

May 31st winded down to a melancholy ending. There were a million things happening that day and the kids and I were scrambling like mad to get to my step daughter’s play that evening. Clayton had made reservations at a nice restaurant afterward to celebrate the end of school and our families merging with homeownership the following day.

Earlier in the week the anger of the gods unleashed all manner of hailstones on Oklahoma City. In the wee hours one morning I awoke to hail and listened to it land, off and on, for over 2 hours. The longest stretch of time the ping pong balls of frozen water fell was about 30 sickening minutes. I miraculously maintained all of my windows, but my roof wasn’t so lucky.

Last Thursday I raced home to meet a repair man on a honey-do item I wanted fixed before closing on Friday then raced to get my kids from their summer program. Then raced to get a green smoothie and we picniced a late afternoon snack in Classen Curve while I phoned in my hail claim. I promptly called my real estate agent to let him know I’d done my due diligence on the house I was about to sell the next day and he said, “Have you checked your email?”


“Well…” he said. Then Peter went into the details as he knew them and it was becoming clear that someone was about to rob me of my third close date. Prime Lending was jacking with my buyer for the umpteenth time in the last few weeks and it was derailing my plans.

I broke it to Clayton then sat down to watch his daughter’s play. We made it through dinner without trying to explain the confusion to the kids but there was no hiding the less-than-celebratory ambiance at the table. I told my stepson later that they must’ve noticed that us adults seemed like we were sitting at a funeral a lot of the time that night.

The house ups and downs had worn us out and this latest news was just about more than we could stand. I was emotionally blown out and I really wanted to give up on the whole thing because I knew that surrender would bring Peace and Certainty, things I hadn’t seen much of lately.

We left dinner, went to our two homes, chatted briefly on the phone, then went to bed. I couldn’t think much more that night. I needed a new day.

I awoke the next morning and after a half of cup of coffee, I wrote a blog post.

Then I opened my email program and went through all my records. I made notes of every soul involved in these transactions, where they worked, their role in that company and their phone numbers. I didn’t write down emails because I was fucking done being passive. I wanted a house, dammit, and I needed real people to talk with me on how to Make Shit Happen.

After I had a list of 8 or so people to call, I started at the top of the food chain: the closing officer at my title company. I was nice, but clear and agressive about my plight. About 9:30 am I learned that I *might* be closing at 3 pm. That’s all the wiggle room I needed. I stayed in constant contact with my realtor, my new house’s realtor, the  lender and the title company. Ran around and signed papers. Ran home to meet the movers. Begged a friend to come sit with the movers while I ran to close. Begged Clayton to stop the packing of his moving truck to come relieve my friend who had an appointment to attend. Screeched into the Bank of Oklahoma and picked up a cashier’s check. Sauntered in to the title company and drank a real coke. Ate a Otis Spunkmeyer cookie. Bought a house. Ran to the new house to direct my movers. Ran to the ATM so I could pay them and to Conoco for twenty bucks worth of bottled water and granola bars while we unloaded Clayton’s U-Haul. Ran to dinner with family.

Stumbled home in a carby stupor to fall asleep on bare mattresses on the floor of our new home.

Our. New. Home. ❤

Hey @winedr....

Thursday, May 17 sucked.

And the days since haven’t been a picnic.

When I started blogging again I gave myself a few rules to keep my touch-of-ADD self better focused, thus keeping the writing a bit more enjoyable for whomever stumbled upon it. One such rule is, “This is not your journal, whine to someone else.”

I’m breaking that rule again to tell you about the hot mess that was Thursday, May 17.

First, the day started out with this: My Yelp review about the experience. By the time that was over and finished I decided to call the day a wash and head home to finish up packing because Friday was Double Close Day! And the movers were coming at 11am! Thank you Universe for sending me home because less than an hour later the wheels were coming off the whole damn thing. By the time I hung up with my real estate agent, Peter, he and I were both in a silent sort of shock. There was a miscommunication with my mortgage company about some recommendations from an engineer’s report I had ordered and this miscommunication meant that I couldn’t close Friday unless I could turn in two bids for the two projects and put the cash in escrow. All this was at about 2:30pm.

I hung up the phone so Peter could put his brain to it and stared out the window of my living room. I looked at my green grass in the back yard and noticed that it again needed a mow. I looked at all the boxes stacked high all around me and wondered where I’d put them on Friday when I had to move out of this house I was selling. I looked at the rug on the floor covered in dog hair from Clayton’s sweet Akita/Lab mix named Shiro. For some reason she likes to stretch in front of me and it always makes me smile. Then I remembered that my yoga teacher often told us that if there was something in a yoga class we couldn’t handle that we could always return to the Child’s Pose.

I slid off of the sofa and crawled to my hands and knees, knees slightly wider than my hips. I laid one of my bare feet on top of the other behind me and let my hands extend as far as they would reach in front of me as lowered my chest to my thighs and rested my forehead on the hairy floor. And I wept for five full minutes.

Buying house is stressful in its own right and I have been holding my breath for months as all the pieces click into place. I never put all my faith in any one part of the proceedings and instead comfort myself in the overall progress. Oh, and I constantly worry.

I cried and cried and cried until it hurt because I guess Child’s Pose puts a lot of blood in your head and once you’re all worked up from bawling then your sinuses shut down air flow. It wasn’t exactly calming but it opened me up and let all that emotion free. The physical pain snapped me out of the pity party long enough sit up, blow my nose and sort of get my shit together. I wandered around my house for a few minutes, checked my email and fielded some phone calls. Clayton touching base. Peter had a plan. Loan processor called to explain some things. Then a person from the title company called to tell me that the buyer on my house had to postpone their closing because they were missing some financial documents.

So. I didn’t buy a house on Friday, nor did I sell one. It’s taken a few days to really process that. Lots of people advise you, “Oh, no one ever closes on the first close date!” But I waited for over a month to even bother trying for a close date. We didn’t even set it until about 10 days beforehand and a couple of days before I heard the phrase, “You have a clear-to-close” from my lender. I was reasonably confident. All the utilities and services were scheduled for transfer or cancellation. House was 90% packed. Blah, blah, blah. It didn’t happen and here we sit, waiting.

Because of my new requirements that involve me writing another big check, we have to wait for my house to sell before we can make the purchase. We think that will happen on May 29. I’m trying to chill out about it.

All The Spinach

It’s getting late and for every box I pack I seem to remember at least one completely unrelated task that needs to be done before Friday. Today’s biggest ::gasp:: moment? I need to replace a pipe under my bathroom sink for the buyers of my house! Whoops! I’ll get it done in plenty of time, of course, and I’m glad it came to light today and not Friday at closing.

The house is about 75% packed/ready. Tomorrow night after work I disassemble kid beds and pack/purge those random items in the garage that tend to collect. And cook spinach.

Oh… didn’t I mention that?

My dad and aunt came by to crash this evening because my dad has eye surgery in the morning at the ass-crack of dawn and they are using my house as a home base tomorrow. As a tithe of some sort he brought me (at least) 3 pounds or organic spinach leaves from his garden. So much spinach it had to be transported in a small garbage bag. So…yes. Tomorrow night I shall be cooking ALL THE SPINACH. 🙂

Ready to warp to a different level

Last night I found out that we’ll probably close BOTH houses and move on May 18. It’s not exactly the scenario I had in my head but it does have the end result that we want…which is to be owning this new big house with its 5 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. And an additional half bath that I’m turning into this:

Mario Bathroom

Because that’s just badass.

How the heck does one wake up in the morning, go sell a house, go buy a house and direct the moving company from the old to the new? And have that all happen within the 8-hour day? I guess I’m about to find out. 🙂

The next chapter

Last week we went to a party thrown by a friend of ours who was honoring the notion of The Next Chapter. She’s been through a major life change recently and noticed that a few of her friends had, too. Is there a better reason to have a party? Nope!

Among many things, she provided a craft to keep the theme going. We were to tear a page out of an old book and write the first page to our next chapter. Then, we slide it into a nifty fridge magnet and voila!

next chapter

I’ve been absent from my blog for the past several months. A million things have kept me away (that may or may not be named, pending free time to write about them), but one major one has been the decision to blend families.

We’ve known about this intention for a long time, relatively speaking, but didn’t rush into moving in together the moment the idea came to mind. Plus, I owned a (not big enough) house. Actually, I owned two (one was my childhood home I’d inherited when my mother died. After 20 years, we finally sold it last summer). And we needed to find a house spacious enough to fit the physical and emotional needs of our families. And I needed a big kitchen.



It’s been a loooooong six months. Lots of painting, cleaning, mowing, hauling, purging and crying. Stalking houses and imagining futures is fun. Touring houses is a little less fun. Narrowing the field is even less fun. Making the offer isn’t any fun at all. Negotiating the contract and hiking through the process is work. Dealing with The Person Who Shall Not Be Named* was the drag to end all drags. Waiting for repairs to get scheduled and completed sucks. Waiting for an official close date is hell. It feels like everyone I’ve made eye contact with in the last 2 months wants a check for $300.

Ditto for most of that on the house I’m selling…though this process has been a bit easier than the house we’re buying.

Add to that the hopes and fears that come along with starting a Next Chapter. We both have a boy and a girl. We both survived divorces that came at the end of 10 year marriages. We love food and wine and music and each other immensely. But like any couple, we have The Fear. I could go into The Fear, but I digress…

I’m at my wits end. No, really I am. I’ve been stressing out on just about any given topic for months. I look older. I feel older. I’ve had a headache for a week. My mood has more swings than an amusement park. I’m constantly distracted. My thoughts are muddled. I can’t pull out of my driveway without having to put my car back in park and go into my house for a forgotten item — sometimes twice! I can pep talk myself in a thousand different directions but there’s no getting around that I’m depressed more than I’m not. There’s lots of carbs and very little intentional exercise in my life. I’m too tired to exercise (no, really). I’m whiney. As you can tell.

I’m more than ready to get to the next chapter. I’m exhausted of this one. I want to move on and live in peace. I posted this song during my separation and divorce on an old blog I kept during my stay-at-home-mom years. I love Patty. Really love her. Got to tell her that to her face last year through happy (crazy person) tears. I’ve lived this song. I’m beyond the walls of the fortress and I’m ready for the bird of peace to come in for landing.

*a person in our home buying process that has given me at least three fresh gray hairs. My poor realtor is handling this human from now on. Let him get the gray hairs. 🙂