Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Gender Role Staycation!

It's More Exciting than the Great Dumpster Vacation of 2008! It involves sewing and masonry and puppy kisses! It's the 2011 Gender Role Staycation!!!!

Bill and I are off for a few days this week and working on various projects. I worked Monday because this week is Direct Support Professional Recognition Week (did you know??) and I've been working with a group of Indiana DSPs for the last year or so - helping them form a statewide organization supporting their profession. Monday was their annual conference and I couldn't miss it. Have you thanked a DSP this week?? They work hands-on every day with people with developmental disabilities and need an insane amount of knowledge, skill and commitment. They also get paid really crappy wages. Indiana is the most populous of 9 or so states that serve all people with disabilities in the community rather than in large state institutions. DSPs make sure everyone gets to participate in their community - go shopping, attend events, work meaningful jobs. They rock and I was glad to spend the first part of this week supporting their conference.

But I get to support the gender roles that can drive progressive women crazy. I'm spending a portion of this week sewing, while Bill is lugging rocks and wielding power tools.

Many of the windows in my house are naked and winter is coming. My goal is to make curtains for two rooms this week. However...curtain fabric is really, really thick and I don't have the right needles for my sewing machine. I know this because I keep breaking them. So, the curtain making will wait a few days.

This is fine with me because there is nothing you can do with a sewing machine that is more boring than sewing curtains. Even staring at an inoperable sewing machine is more exciting than making curtains.

Do not fear, however! I have sewing content to share. Inspired by the adorable blog New Dress A Day, I did some shopping at Goodwill and came home with this enormous shirt:

It's a "before" picture, so I have to look grumpy.

I love the fabric and the shape, but it's a bit big on me. Since it cost $2 I wasn't afraid to experiment. I laid this shirt on my bed inside-out and placed a shirt I liked the fit of on top of it. I pinned the places I wanted to take it in and tried it on. After sewing it up it looks like this:

I like it enough that I'll head back to Goodwill and find some more things to modify. Also, it apparently inspires me to act like a goof while wearing it (though goofiness may also be attributed to Bill being behind the camera).

When he's not taking photos of me this week, Bill is continuing the work on his oven. Here is a brief recap of what he's done so far:

He tilled up some dirt, patted it down and built a square and level form. Then he poured some pea gravel all over. This has something to do with drainage.

Then there is the plastic layer. We got the wrong plastic the first time. It wasn't enough microns. So, he got better stuff, laid it all out and made a support network of rebar and wire mesh.

Some of these words I am using may not actually be words. I'm hoping you know less about this than I do and don't notice...

Then the cement man came with the truck.

We screeded it all up.

And wrote stuff in it.

After letting the cement cure for a week, Bill started the cinder block base. He started on the left and his mortaring is nicer on the other side, after he had a little practice.

Then there was the cutting and mess making from the previous post. This involved a diamond blade and the late realization that "they" make cinder blocks that have the groves Bill spent hours making.

Then we ate donuts. Last November the donut shop in town had a fire and we were tragically without donuts for months. They reopened in August, but it was weeks before we could get in. The lines were hours long and you had to get up way too early to have a chance at a donut. Today we scored.

And now, fueled by sugar, Bill is doing this:

The cinder blocks will be filled with concrete and a form for the hearth slab will be built.

I don't really know what that means, but we can watch and learn together!

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