Friday, July 30, 2010

City Love

It makes my day when I walk into my Jimmy John's behind four or five other people, and the guys behind the counter know me so well that they point at me and say, "Slim 2 with Cheese?" By the time I get to the counter to pay, my sandwich is waiting for me.

They say that cities are impersonal. They warned me that if I ever moved out of a small town, the people would be rude and I'd lose that sense of knowing my neighbors.

But all over this big, old city, I have places I can go where they not only know my name, but also know my sandwich order.

I never expected to fall in love with a city. This city, though... there's something special about it. Austin rocks.


I Love This Face

I love this face.

And this girl.

It was one of those days today. Not a bad day. But one of those days that leaves you feeling like you'd like to sleep for about a week. (Why I'm still awake at 3 AM trying to churn out this drivel I call a blog is beyond me. I need help. Serious, professional help.)

The Monkey Boy screamed at me and told me to GO AWAY RIGHT NOW today. Twice. He was bribed into giving me a hug and saying he was sorry, but then I was forced to listen to Chuggington. Have I mentioned how vile Chuggington is? Obnoxious talking trains usually finding some way to get in trouble. At least it isn't Barney. Or Spongebob.

I'd have to stage a coup.

Then he made approximately eight bazillion trips to the bathroom in an attempt to poop. This number, of course, is only an estimate. It could have been more - but the spell checker told me that bazillion was spelled correctly, so that's the number I went with. (It does not like gillion, bagillion, or the most accurate description -  DEARGODHEHASTOGOAGAIN?!?)

Then he did acrobatics on the furniture. 

About this time, I contemplated hiding in the closet and sucking my thumb.

The Super Duper Cooper Pooper Puppy dug a hole in the yard. Luckily, he dug near a fire ant mound, where there was already a lack of grass. Sort of. This is my story, and I'm sticking to it. It makes me feel better about the whole mess. 

Still, it wasn't all bad.

There was some laughing.

There was some silliness.

There were some faces like that one up there.

I guess you just have to take the bad with the good.

And avoid getting sucked into Wikiventures when you get home and have the chance to go to sleep.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Generativity vs. Stagnation and Serial-Killing Maintenance Men

A few things that I have managed to get done over the past four days:

  1. Went to Meineke. Spent two hours there. Got the car air conditioner fixed. It was broken because of something to do with a fuse and a condenser fan and pressure and a loss of Freon. I think the gremlins did it.
  2. Fought a valiant battle against the fleas using heavy artillery, e.g. the expensive vet stuff. This seems to be having some effect, though I am now suffering from a severe case of psychosomatic itching. Anyone know what to take for that?
  3. Allowed maintenance into my apartment, voluntarily, for the first time since I moved in. As I had a whole list of things to be fixed, it was a rather productive thing to do. And the maintenance man bought me lunch. Still - I dislike allowing anyone into my apartment when it is less than pristine, and as such, I spent most of Saturday and part of Sunday evening cleaning.
  4. Had Monkey Boy Chaos for homeschooling. Considered throttling Monkey Boy Chaos. It was not a good morning. I lost my temper and got snippy. I yelled at the dog. The Boy wouldn't listen. Tomato sauce got on my chair. But I did get Dave's fabulous alfredo for dinner as a reward for not killing the boy. Not that I'd do that. I love him. Most of the time. The little monster.
  5. Took an economics exam. Didn't like it much. Think I missed a question on percentages.
  6. Did approximately 1239532 loads of laundry.
  7. Read lots of blogs. I'm not sure this counts as getting anything done. But I did it. I certainly did it.
As you can see, it's been a busy few days. But not to worry. Soon, I shall go back to my old habit of doing nothing but languishing on my sofa. Probably sooner than I ought to. Really, I think I'm going though one of Erikson's Eight Stages a bit early - Generativity vs. Stagnation. My desire to get things done is having a battle with my desire to curl up and watch Friends reruns.

Okay. So maybe that isn't... exactly... what Erikson meant by Generativity vs. Stagnation. And maybe I'm not even in that stage of life yet, and won't be for another 15 years. And maybe my underwear is black today.

Not that that has anything to do with anything.

I'm in a weird mood tonight.

The truth is, I'm currently torn between my extreme need for a real vacation and my longing to get back to my UT. I realize, in hindsight, that taking so many classes this summer was a mistake. I realize that not actually taking a break between a 15 hour semester and an 18 hour semester was probably a very bad idea. I realize that the last time I had any extended period of time off was Christmas.

As I've mentioned before, I'm a bit jealous of all of the places that my friends have gone this summer. But more than that, I'm jealous of the time off they've had. More than once in the past few weeks, I've considered getting in my car and just driving - driving ANYWHERE. Driving to Missouri to see Janet. Driving to the beach. Maybe Bowlegs, Oklahoma. Just cause.

Of course, because the air conditioner wasn't working and this is, after all, Texas, I never made it much farther than Lockhart. And last time I was there, I ended up with a stomach bug, which made it much less enjoyable.

All I'm really looking for here is a little time to sit down and read, write, or simply do nothing - without having a test date in the back of my mind.

Of course, I know how miserable I generally am when I don't have about eight thousand projects. But really. I think I need to remind myself of this misery. You know. So I don't seek it out again in the future.

On the other hand, I find myself desperately missing UT. Not that there is anything wrong with ACC, mind you, but Economics, Government, and online classes in Sociology and Psychology aren't doing a whole lot to stimulate me. Even when I'm drowning in work at UT, I love that I am being forced to think and be creative. I'm so excited about my schedule this fall that I want to turn cartwheels.

I should mention that, this fall, I'm taking 18 hours of classes, including a 6-hour intensive Russian class.

But I know the classes will be both challenging and entertaining. What's even weirder though, is that I'm looking forward to being back on campus. I'm actually starting to miss the people. I know. I KNOW. Bobbi doesn't do people. Bobbi is chronically anti-social.

That isn't entirely true though. My friend Eric will be back from Germany soon. Erica just recently returned from Croatia. I'm taking a Research Methods class with a friend I made during orientation, Jill. She wasn't in any of my classes last Spring, and I found that I really missed her.

Despite my best efforts, I've developed... relationships. It's strange.

I miss being on campus with all sorts of places to go and just be.

I will, of course, go back to hating campus as soon as I start trying to park there again. If not then, when I go to the Union or the FAC and find that there are no places to sit because, well, there are 50,000 students at this school.

Still, I look forward to getting back to school - to MY school. Because honestly? I'm bored stiff with the classes I'm taking.

That's it, really. I'm having an internal battle between being so tired that I don't want to do anything, and being so bored that I want to add about twelve more things to my schedule. Or, perhaps, just sleep for the remainder of the summer.

In other news... there isn't very much other news. Oh - wait.

I spent rather a lot of time in my economics class today worrying about the possibility that my maintenance man was a serial killer.

I like my maintenance man. He's nice. He bought me lunch today. I had a lovely and pleasant conversation. But clearly, I have been watching too much Criminal Minds. And with my penchant for overreaction and irrational thought, by the time I was getting ready to leave for class, I was starting to wonder things like: why did my maintenance man know that the rifle in my closet is a .22 caliber? Why did my maintenance man buy me lunch and talk to me when I am so obviously not a a social creature? Why was my maintenance man so friendly?

The answer to these questions, by the way, is that 1. It isn't hard to tell what a .22 caliber rifle looks like, and that 2. My maintenance man is nice. And friendly.

Did I mention I actually like my maintenance man? And that I feel guilty for considering the fact that he might be a cleverly disguised serial killer?

My response to these questions was to go off on a string of irrational thinking that included such thoughts as: He made friends with Cooper, and now Cooper will let him into the apartment without trying to kill him. He knows where I keep my gun. He knows that one of the locks on my sliding glass door is broken. Oh yeah, and he's maintenance. So he has a key. (I don't know that I even THOUGHT about that at the time.)

Clearly, the threat was there. He might sneak into my apartment and hide in my shower so that he could kill me later.

I hid my rifle. And stalked my shower with a baseball bat when I got home.

Obviously, I am still alive.

And really, find the whole thing very funny.

Which means, I think, that I need to get out more.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Stuck at Meineke

I'm stuck at Meineke

Trial #3

I'm testing blogger spacing.

Because lately, it's a PITA.


Papering for Inner Peace

I have a confession.

I've been a little stressed lately

I know what you're thinking. "You? Stressed? But you seem so calm and together! You're so on top of everything and holding it together nicely in the face of your stress."

What? Why are you laughing? That isn't what you were thinking, you say? You were actually thinking, "About time you admitted that. You've been running around like a chicken with your head cut off for the past two weeks. We wish you'd get over yourself and chill out already."

Uh huh. I knew how you really were. 

But seriously. The ongoing Great Flea War of 2010 is draining me. My house doesn't feel clean. And I just don't function in a house that doesn't feel clean. The air conditioner in the car is getting ridiculous. The stomach bug knocked me on my butt, and the Government exam I had on Wednesday required a cramming session that could only have been rivaled by the time I went to Australia and bought too much to fit in my suitcase.

I believe I have mentioned before that trying to take four classes during a summer session is a suicide mission?

It just feels like there are a million little things that need to be done, and by the time I get to them, I'm so exhausted from having done the big things that all I want to do is watch Frasier reruns.

Tonight, though, I papered kitchen shelves instead.

I do this sometimes, when I'm particularly stressed out and antsy. My last major bout of papering was last September, the day Kelly went into labor with the Munchkin girl. I also scrubbed my door jamb for her. Some day, she will thank me. I'm sure of it.

Either way, I used up the last of my shelving paper tonight, and did the two cabinets over my sink. 

I'm running out of cabinets.

It isn't that I'm particularly good at shelf papering. In fact, I suck at it. When it comes to home repair projects, shelf papering is one that I lack the finesse to do properly. The paper sticks to everything but the shelf. It sticks to itself. It wads up. Air bubbles get under it. It NEVER lines up properly. To tell you the truth, I don't like papering at all. There is nothing enjoyable about the task whatsoever.

But still, there's something about seeing those shelves covered in crisp, white paper. It's calming. It's relaxing.

It, quite possibly, means that I am insane. But we already knew that.

I do wonder, though, why something I hate is also something that I do when I'm already stressed out. Papering for inner peace? Doesn't make any sense at all.

Playing for peace. That I could see. Or painting. Pouring (tequila) for inner peace. There's one I could get into. Some people might like to party. (I'm not one of them.) In an entirely different sense, you can even poop for inner peace. (But that's gross and I don't do that kind of thing. I'm a girl.)

But papering?

I really need to get out more. I'm thinking a three week, all expenses paid, vacation to somewhere tropical. 

Now, where's that money fairy when you need her?

Hey, maybe all those dreams I keep having about my teeth falling out are really messages showing me how I can best get a vacation. With inflation being what it is, my teeth ought to be worth a hell of a lot more now than they were when I was 7. In fact, while I'm at it, I may find some of my friends and pull out their teeth too. After all, I'd want to stay in a nice hotel. And get a massage. Every day. 

That does it.

Screw Papering for Inner Peace.

From now on, I'm going to pursue Pulling for Tropical Paradise.

Or, you know.

Attempt to get five hours of sleep so I can get up in the morning, get the car fixed, get flea medication for the dog, print out Monkey Boy's homeschooling materials, do two thousand loads of laundry, and start preparing for my next exam.

And buy more shelf paper.

I don't feel very peaceful yet. I think I'm going to need it.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

American Idol and The Fear of Success

A few weeks ago, I was sitting on the couch with Kelly and Dave watching So You Think You Can Dance, when I caught a glimpse of a commercial advertising the new season of American Idol. More specifically, a commercial on the local Austin station telling us that we should get involved.

I was perplexed. I'd never seen an audition commercial before. Could that mean....

Was it possible....

I quickly went to the American Idol website and looked at their audition schedule. Sure enough, this year, they were coming to Austin. On campus, no less.

My knee jerk reaction was one of sheer elation. I immediately stated my intent to go forth and audition. I posted on Facebook. I told everyone I could get on instant messenger.

See, I kind of like to sing. Just a little. 

Anyone who has spent any amount of time around me at all knows this. I'm likely to launch into a song at any given moment, and I'm not particularly shy about it. The bigger the audience, the more I enjoy performing. So, the prospect of auditioning for people who could give me a venue to perform - who could actually make me a singer - it was, to say the least, a little intoxicating.

By the time I got home, though, I was starting to feel uneasy about the whole audition thing, for several reasons. Over the course of the last couple weeks, I'd very nearly talked myself out of going. Not because I was afraid, or because I didn't think I was good, or even because I don't like big crowds of people (though, I'll admit, I'm not thrilled about the idea of fighting a crowd that size.) My uneasiness hasn't been coming from the fear of failure - it's been coming from the fear of success.

Let me explain. This may be long. (Or it may be short. Or it may be interrupted. The child could awaken at any moment.)

Saying that I come from a family of musicians is a little like saying Prince Charles comes from a family of nobility. My dad was in a band that got broken up by the draft. My mom was pretty well known locally as a folk singer. My uncle was even more well known in the area as a singer and guitarist. I have cousins in functioning praise bands. Dad plays bass and harmonica. Mom plays guitar and piano, and has even been known to fiddle a bit.

We have a stock pile of instruments, including a dulcimer, two violins, a piano, at least three guitars, two basses, a mandolin, and, for some reason, a banjitar. My parents entertainment center in Lockhart is fashioned out of a Marshall amp, a head, and two enormous speakers. The living room is dotted with amps, microphone stands, and music books.

My parents gave me a microphone sometime around 2 and I went with it. I've been playing the piano for about as long. 

Give me a stage and an audience and I won't hesitate to start singing. Performance is an adrenaline rush that you just can't beat. Occasionally, I manage to keep the audience from running away in fear, too.

Music just DOES something for me, you know? I go somewhere when I play that I can't get to otherwise. You can always tell the musicians from the casual players. The musicians get this look. We all go somewhere else.

I'm not amazing.

I'm not even really special or unique.

But I love it, and I'm pretty good at it.

Since coming to Texas, I haven't really had a venue in which to play. Back in North Carolina, we had huge musical get-togethers every year. Now I play in my apartment and just hope that no one bangs on the door and tells me to shut up.

I miss it.

If I could pick one thing to change about Kelly, I'd make her musical. It's difficult when the thing you love to do more than anything else is play and sing - and your best friend is entirely tone-deaf. And likes Metal. And stares at you blankly when you lament that you have a voice built for the key of A-flat, but would much rather play in G.

I still have hope for her children. I'll make them musical yet.

In any case, everything I've just said builds a pretty convincing case for why I should go downtown on the 11th of August and audition for American Idol.

If it were two years ago, I wouldn't even be hesitating.

But now?

When I look at the course my life is taking, I have a hard time seeing a future in which I'm a professional musician. I do love it - I do SO love it - but I'm not really sure that it's where I'm going.

When I see my future, I see a career as a therapist. I see the creation of a National Foundation for Students with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. I see myself as a Doctor of Psychology, working at a university. I see myself, as I have always seen myself - an intellectual. Never really popular, but certainly ambitious.

I see a husband and children, in a house - not on a tour bus.

I see myself conducting research and writing books.

This spring, I received a nomination to the Diversity and Equity Student Advisory Committee, representing Services for Students with Disabilities. Just two days ago, I found out that I'd been nominated to take part in the University of Texas Undergraduate Leadership Program. 

For the first time in my life, I'm being challenged academically. And I'm starting to get to a place where I'm going to have the connections to do really great things. I want to be a representative for students with disabilities. I want to represent Social Work. I want to bring some recognition to the School of Social Work, and show everyone who keeps telling me that I'm crazy that I can make a real difference for students with OCD on a national level. 

I'm in a position to do that. And I really believe that I can make it all happen.

I've worked so hard to get to here. Auditions would take time - the first round, not so much, but the second round, or the semi-finals, slated for some time in November or December? That could screw around with my finals. It could keep me from going to school. It could change everything.

I know all too well how one little decision can change your life. I'm here, after all, because of a video game.

On the off chance that I go to auditions and succeed - I'm not really sure that I'm prepared to change the course of my life again. I'm not sure that I'm prepared to stop being an intellectual to become what I'd have to become to be a musician. (Not that musicians can't be brilliant - but when you think popular musician, does 'smart' really come to mind?) I'm not sure that I'd be prepared to be well known, either.

I'm not good with people. I'm uncomfortable at parties. Though I function well when it comes to helping people, when it comes to non-work interaction... it's all a little foreign to me. I can discuss Russian poetry and psychological theories at length, but small talk?

I don't really DO small talk.

Of course, as Kelly has told me, I don't really have a chance in hell of winning the whole thing, so I ought to stop worrying about it and just go.

And I won't pretend that hearing that didn't sting. Even when you know that you aren't amazing, you don't want to hear that from the people you love. Not that it was malicious - and not that she's wrong. (Kelly is forever a realist who occasionally forgets that optimistically supporting impossible dreams is part of the best friend job description.)

She IS right.

I'm not cute. I'm not blonde. I'm not a heart-throb. I'm neurotic. My social skills suck. I don't take direction particularly well.

Did I mention neurotic?

I'm neurotic. Really, really neurotic.

I do things like analyze the heck out of American Idol auditions. Maybe that makes me conceited. Maybe it just makes me weird.

Did I tell you that I don't even WATCH American Idol?

I gave up on it years ago. But don't tell them that... 

Dave thinks "You couldn't pay me to watch this damn show these days," should be my opening audition line.

I'm not so sure. Then again, he might be on to something. That way, I could audition, and be assured that I wouldn't make it past the televised audition blooper round!

Kelly told me last night that I was GOING to audition.

I probably will.

But I might not.

I'll let you know.

(I'm not indecisive. Nope. Not at all.)


Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I'm not sure where the phrase came from. A-Zha-Va-Da-Vou. Quite possibly, it was adapted from Simlish. After all, both Kelly and I were avid Simmers. It's how we met. These days, however, A-Zha-Va-Da-Vou is a phrase used by Kelly and I to convey one of three things.

1. I am too exhausted to create anymore coherent speech and, thus, I am going to resort to nonsense so that you might understand just how exhausted I really am.

2. In question form: I know you said something, but you mumbled, and I didn't understand you. Say it again please? (Most often heard on a cell phone.)

3. My brain hurts. I reject your reality and substitute my own. Mine is better. There are men with white jackets. And lots of flowers. And candy. And flying pigs. And purple frogs.

Tonight, I am using it for both reasons 1 and 3.

I should be doing Government. I really should.

See, I made a miscalculation about the test date and assignment due date. I thought it was Thursday. But I was wrong. I, of course, realized this on Tuesday morning at approximately 2 am. 

And, because I absolutely hate my Government class, I hadn't even looked at the text. Or the assignment. Or the discussion board for this unit.

So up I got this morning, and into the text I went. That was at 10. It is now 2 AM on Wednesday, and I am still doing Government. With the exception of the time I spent eating, and the time I spent arguing with Kelly, I have been doing Government nearly all day.

I hate Government.

I'd rather study biology.

I'd rather study homoerotic football.

I'd rather study the formation of dust on oak trees in the desert.

(Are there oak trees in the desert? Are they dusty?)

Alas, I it is Government that I must learn. And it's making me violent, I tell you. I really think I'm on to something here. Kids aren't violent because of video games. They aren't violent because of observational learning. Move over, Bandura... I have the answer.

Kids are violent because they're BORED. Probably someone tried to teach them Government. 

This stuff should come with a warning.

"Excessive studying of Government materials may cause violent urges, including, but not limited to: suicide, homicide,assault, battery, and pulling of all hair from head, lighting it on fire, and dancing naked around it while yodeling. Also, excessive studying of Government materials may cause insanity. See last example."

I don't want to read about earmarks. Or Congress. Or Congressmen named Mark. Or Congressmen with ears. Or men named Mark who happen to have ears. 

Unfortunately, I still have three more questions to answer on the assignment before I go to bed. This translates into roughly fifteen actual questions. My professor is a fan of multi-part questions.

Multi-part questions, to quote my Dear Friend Dan, blow goats. Kelly might say that they suck big, hairy donkey balls.

And I know it isn't politically correct, but I just don't want to associate with anything or anyone who both blows goats and sucks on donkey balls. I just don't need that kind of bestiality in my life.

Then, in the morning, I have to get up, read another chapter, commit the three I read today to memory, and go take an exam on these chapters.

Then I have to go to Economics.

The day just keeps looking better and better. (Of course, I kind of like economics. Shhh....)

But really, I've just hit that point where I don't care.

You know, in the cartoons, when all of the animals are in a band?

Just GO with me here....

And then Daffy Duck inadvertently gets his head slammed between the two cymbals, and it squishes him? And then birds fly around his head? (Should they really BE birds for a duck? Shouldn't there be flying people instead? That would make more sense anyway. Flying birds are NORMAL.)

Anyway. That's kind of where I am right now. 

Maybe my professor won't care if the homework isn't coherent?




Tuesday, July 20, 2010

IKEA Hacking

It's just been one of those weeks. Between the twitchy car air conditioner, the twitchy computer cable (which finally bit the dust on Friday), the Great Flea Wars of 2010, and the stomach bug I caught over the weekend, I'm starting to feel like it's time to take a Nyquil and call it a night.

Or, you know. Call it a few days. That Nyquil is good stuff.

Despite all of the pitfalls of my weekend, I did manage to get a few things taken care of on Friday morning, namely, finishing my IKEA hack. Or, at least, coming REALLY close to finishing.

Remember back when I started this blog? I was doing things like building furniture, rearranging my apartment, and buying wood pieces that were too big to fit into my Volkswagen. It was glorious. And, way back then, I promised I'd post pictures if I ever finished renovating?

I should have known better. I don't even let maintenance into my apartment, because I never deem it "clean" enough for them. And I'm missing a part in my dishwasher. And I have a door that won't shut. And I can't figure out how to reprogram my thermostat.

And then there's the fact that renovation for me is always an ongoing process. Honestly, I'm quite proud of what I've done with this little apartment thus far, but I'm a long way from being done. I still need to paint my kitchen, hang crown molding, and get the place re-carpeted. Raising a Labrador puppy is hell on carpet.

Anyway, this past Friday, I managed to make some headway on one of the larger projects I undertook - i.e. an IKEA hack. Now, for those of you unfamiliar with the term, IKEA hacking is simply taking IKEA furniture and turning it into DIFFERENT furniture. In fact, it was this site that first got me thinking about redoing my apartment. And one of the main problems I had with my apartment is that I wasn't happy with my piano stand.

See, it didn't accommodate my amp. My baby. My big, beautiful Roland amp, on casters. And that just wasn't working for me.

Since I had decided to build a new entertainment unit - one that would fit in the corner and maximize space, I found myself with two extra LACK shelving units - they had previously been my entertainment unit. I also happened to have two spare LACK end tables. Inspired by IKEA Hacker, I decided to see what I could make out of these pieces.

Here are the pieces of furniture I started with. What I needed was a stand that would be wide and tall enough to house a large amp in the middle. That way, I wouldn't lose space by having a bulky amp sitting out to the side of my keyboard. I also needed storage for all of the music books that I've accumulated over the years. Most importantly, I needed the stand to be substantial enough to hold the keyboard. After all, that was really the whole point.

First, I examined the shelving unit. I took out the middle shelf, and, using a Sawzall, carefully cut the bottom of the unit so that it was only two boxes with a long shelf across the top. (Actually Dad made those cuts for me. I'm not particularly good at Sawzall precision.) I added a few screws to the bottom, along with some wood glue, to make sure the unit remained sturdy. To cover the raw ends where I made the cuts, I bought a piece of balsa wood from Michaels. Balsa wood is thin enough to be cut by scissors, thus, it was the perfect size for filling the holes without looking out of place. A word of caution though - because Balsa wood is so thin, it splits easily. Take care when nailing it.

Once I had the main unit done, I set out to raise it to the required height. I looked at several different options for legs, until I realized that I already HAD eight, white legs - in the exact style of the cabinet. Since I didn't really need the white tables, I unscrewed the legs from them. They were a bit too long, so I measured, and cut them off with a hacksaw.

Hacksawing eight table legs is a lot of work, even when they're IKEA and not solid all the way through. I would recommend using a nice, circular table saw. Unfortunately, the apartment complex frowns upon extensive use of power tools. So, hacksawing it was.

Fourteen hours later...

Just kidding. It didn't take that long, but it felt like it did. Once I got the legs sawed off, al that was left was to drill holes into the bottom of the shelving unit, and screw the legs in. As they had come out of the table, they already had double sided screws in them.

Of course, this left me with two table tops.

I wondered whether or not they would work as art. But, do I really strike you as the kind of person to have plain, white squares on my wall as art?

With my affinity for collages?

I think not.

The hardest part was deciding what to put on the table tops. I finally decided upon post cards. During the time that we traveled across the country, as well as on my trip to Australia, I amassed a LARGE number of post cards. They've been sitting in highly organized file boxes - for all the good that was doing. I bought a couple of pieces of white poster board, collaged on top of them (postcards and some extra map pieces), and tacked them to the top of the tables. Two nails in the back of each top, with some picture hanging wire between them, and voila! I had art!

The finished result?

Exactly what I had been hoping for.

I can change up the art at-will, just by changing the poster board. I do still want to get some plexiglass to cover the pieces - collages tend to be highly affected by gravity.

I may also get some kind of decorative pieces to go on either side of the piano. Candle sticks, or something to that effect. I'm not sure yet. I do like the uncluttered look, but I tend to be a space filler.

The dining room table typically goes right in front of the piano bench - usually, I have the bench in place of the fourth chair, and end up using the fourth chair as a place to house the computer for recording and sheet music.

Ultimately, this IKEA hack was more successful than I could have hoped for. The amp can roll out for sound purposes when I really want to jam, but it's tucked neatly away during the day. The music books have a stylish place to rest, and I managed to get a perfect piece of furniture, as well as two large pieces of wall art, for less than $100.00.

Those shelving units really are versatile. I have to of them serving as a storage platform for my bed, and two of them in my closet.

And the tables? I love them. At $7.99 apiece, they're perfect for end tables, coffee tables, step stools, benches, and general hacking.

Just think. It only took me two months to get this far. Some day, I may even finish the entertainment unit enough to post pictures of it.

Not tonight, though. Tonight, I take nyquil, and sleep like ... well ... like only someone on Nyquil can sleep. See you next month. Or, you know, tomorrow.