Living Room Re-do Day 3

We're moving along quite nicely with our Great Living Room Re-Do of 2011.  Last night the DVD/VHS shelves came down (yay!) and the 5x5 shelves were moved into their proper place.  I finished boxing all the DVDs (all 340 of them!) and all the VHS (all 470 of them!) and cataloging them; WOW...I knew we had a lot of movies, but WOW!  I battled and defeated all the Dust Bunnies that had flourished behind the television for the past 7 years.

Today I'm mostly going to concentrate on cleaning and boxing knick-knacks.  Dennis is at work and moving the rest of the furniture will take two people, so that will have to wait for this evening or weekend.  Most of our shelves are black/brown from Ikea except for our coffee table and two end tables that someone gave us.  They're a cherry wood-ish mahogany-ish color and  I think I'm going to paint them a distressed gold color instead.  But that will have to wait until Sunday when I have a dedicated day just for painting.

So, our to-do list:
  • find a way to organize our hundreds of DVD's and VHS tapes
  • take everything off the 5x5 shelves so it can be moved
  • box and cataloge all DVD's and VHS
  • take DVD/VHS shelves off the wall
  • take everything off the short table
  • move the 5x5 shelves to the wall where the DVD shelves were
  • move the short table to the wall where couch 1 is possibly (probably) find taller alternative to short table
  • install/set-up TV and components on short table/alternative taller table existing TV table
  • move couch 1 where 5x5 shelves were
  • find end table to go next to couch 1 (maybe)
  • find place for dress maker form
  • find table to go behind couch 1 for projector to sit on The whole reason for the re-do is so I can have room to exercise in the living room and putting a table behind the couch would make it too hard to push back for extra room
  • figure out how to hang projector from ceiling?
  • re-hang pull down screen in new place
  • get rid of make-shift table holding TV and components (maybe) We decided to keep this table and paint it black
  • if so, find place to store board games and blankets
  • maybe continue to use make-shift table to hold TV and components 
  • if so, find new material to cover Instead of covering it, we're going to paint it
  • take all knick-knacks that were living on the 5x5 shelves and short table and re-decorate shelves/tables
  • get rid of extraneous knick-knacks that we don't love
  • dust/sweep/mop/vacuum as everything gets moved around (ongoing)
  • box up all remaining knick-knacks to make moving all the furniture easier
  • clean and prep the make-shift TV table to be painted
  • clean and prep coffee table and two end tables to be painted
  • buy paint and supplies
  • Paint!
  • take down all pictures/shelves/art hanging on walls
  • decide what will go back on the walls and where to hang them
  • enjoy our "new" living room 
This still seems like a lot of stuff to do, but I feel like we're making good progress.  It has been time consuming, but not really frustrating or stress inducing.  In fact, I've been feeling bubbly and giddy and excited and accomplished the last three days of working on this room.  Things still may take a turn for the overwhelming, but the signs are definitely pointing to manageable and generally good.

Here are some more pictures of the progress we're making.

Before.
The removal of the DVDs and VHS.
The last remaining shelf before being removed.

And they're gone!  Check out Dennis in his lumberjack flannel.  I know it's time to work when he puts that on!
The Kingdom of Dust Bunny.  A hard battle was fought here, but in the end, I triumphed!

After!
You can barely see Monster checking out the new placement of the shelves.  She approves.

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Living Room Re-do Day 1.5

I'm taking a quick break from my latest project to eat lunch and update the progress on the Great Living Room Re-Do of 2011!!!

Dennis and I have been talking about rearranging our living room furniture for a while now.  This wouldn't be the first time we've rearranged and probably won't be the last (unless I can convince him to seriously consider buying the house I'm obsessing over--but that's another blog post).

Saturday, Dennis finally took down our Christmas tree.  In order to fit the tree into our living room/dining room space we have always had to do some rearranging.  Sunday we debated on the merits of starting an overhaul since we would have to put things back in place anyway and decided to go for it.  One trip to Ikea later and we were ready to begin.

What we need to do:

  • find a way to organize our hundreds of DVD's and VHS tapes
  • take everything off the 5x5 shelves so it can be moved
  • box and cataloge all DVD's and VHS
  • take DVD/VHS shelves off the wall
  • take everything off the short table
  • move the 5x5 shelves to the wall where the DVD shelves were
  • move the short table to the wall where couch 1 is--possibly (probably) find taller alternative to short table
  • install/set-up TV and components on short table/alternative taller table
  • move couch 1 where 5x5 shelves were
  • find end table to go next to couch 1 (maybe)
  • find place for dress maker form
  • find table to go behind couch 1 for projector to sit on
  • re-hang pull down screen in new place
  • get rid of make-shift table holding TV and components (maybe)
  • if so, find place to store board games and blankets
  • maybe continue to use make-shift table to hold TV and components
  • if so, find new material to cover
  • take all knick-knacks that were living on the 5x5 shelves and short table and re-decorate shelves/tables
  • get rid of extraneous knick-knacks that we don't love
  • dust/sweep/mop/vacuum as everything gets moved around
  • enjoy our "new" living room 

In our minds, this all seems like a simple project, but like all things, I'm sure it will be time consuming, frustrating, and stress inducing.  I just need to remind myself that this will probably take a good 2 weeks of hard work and that I need to constantly keep my focus on the task at hand instead of getting all crazy with ADD.  The act of clearing off all the shelves and tables creates a temporary super-explosion of clutter (more than what's usually around) that usually overwhelms me and has a tendency to make me shut down because it's just too much to focus on.

So far, I have:

  • removed everything from the 5x5 shelves and the low table
  • purchased boxes to organize DVD's from Ikea
  • filled boxes and created catalog of DVD's (I still need to purchase 10 more boxes!)
  • dusted/swept as I've gone along

As soon as I'm done with this post I'm going to start boxing up the VHS tapes and cataloging them and tonight when I get off work, I'm going to get those last 10 DVD boxes I'll need and finish cataloging those tomorrow.  Hopefully tonight we'll get the DVD/VHS shelves off the wall, but we'll see how we both feel this evening!

I wish I had taken some true before pictures, but I do have some of the progress I made yesterday and this morning.

The clean and empty 5x5 shelves dividing the living room space from the dining room space.The short table is in front of the 5x5 shelves and has the new DVD boxes on it's bottom shelf.
This is where couch 1 will go...eventually.

Close up of the new DVD boxes

DVD/VHS shelves and make-shift TV table.
This is where the 5x5 shelf will go.
 
Couch 1 in the background and cluttered coffee table in foreground.
This couch will move to the other side of the room and the TV will go against this wall.

Couch 2 in background and cluttered coffee table in foreground.  This couch will stay where it is.



Box 1 of knick-knacks that used to live on 5x5 shelves

Box 2 of knick-knacks that used to live on the short table.

Box 3 of knick-knacks that used to live on the 5x5 shelf.
Now, back to work!!!
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Fort Worth Stockyards

Last weekend Dennis and I went to the Forth Worth Stockyards to visit some friends and have a good time.  Apparently the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo is different from the historic stockyards, so we ended up doing both.  Our camera futzed out on us half way through the weekend, so I don't have as many pictures as I'd like.  I guess we'll just have to go back another time!

It was cold and rainy, but we still had fun!

There's something historic about this sign, but I don't remember what it is...

Pigger & Butt-Naked were ready to see some cows!

Instead they saw a rat on a cat on a dog!

Then I found a longhorn for us to ride.  Giddy-up!

This is where the rodeo used to be held, but it outgrew this space.

Yee-haw!
Not pictured:  all the horses, cows, pigs, sheep, and goats at the Stockyard Show, the midway, the human maze, the cattle drive at the historic stockyards, the inside of the Historic Stockyard Exchange, the historic railroad depot, etc, etc, etc...
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Business Meeting

One of my biggest goals of 2011 is to open my own massage spa.  I have great ideas, and I have no doubt that I'd be able to open and run a successful spa, but I'm just not sure where to start; what to do first.  I've found a place that I like and it's affordable, in a good location, and suits my needs almost perfectly.  I guess that's a start.  Needless to say, I've got a lot of questions, and I'm not sure what the next step should be.  I've been doing some research online, but government websites are hard to navigate, and there's a ton on information out there.  I guess you could say I'm overwhelmed.

So on Tuesday, I met with a Houston SCORE volunteer to ask some questions and get advice.  The number one question on my mind was how to get funding for this little venture of mine.  Dennis thinks we'll need between $25K and $50K to remodel the space we found, buy all the necessary spa supplies and start an advertising campaign (for the record, I think we can get away with way less, but I'd rather think big and scale back).  We were thinking that a small business loan would work sort of like a car loan or personal loan--if you finance a $25K car for 5 years, the payments are in the neighborhood of $350/month.  If the business loan payment was only $350/month and the rent (utilities included) is only $850/month, then I'd only have to make $1200/month to pay the bills.  That sounds feasible.  When I told Hal, the volunteer, how much we thought we needed, and how much we thought the monthly payments would be, he was nice enough to keep a straight face.

He looked at me, with kindness in his eyes, and said, "Darlin', I hate to burst your bubble, but I'm going to burst your bubble.  A small business loan for a start-up business is a high stakes loan, and the payments on a $50K loan would run you in the neighborhood of $5K a month."

My jaw dropped.  My eyes got big.  I was speechless.  All I could think was there's no way I can start out making a $5K/month payment!!!  How do any new businesses ever get up and running?!?  That's crazy!

"Now, do you have any collateral to offer up?  Any cars or credit cards?" Hal continued.

"Ummm...we have two older cars and a low limit card that's almost maxed out due to our wedding," I stammered.

"Well, you can try talking to a bank, but I doubt you'll get any financing, especially without any collateral."

My bubble was sufficiently burst.  Obliterated.  My hopes had plummeted to the ground.  At least I didn't burst into tears.  And that was just the first 5 minutes of the meeting.

The rest of the meeting was a lot better.  Hal is a retired Texas businessman and gentleman.  He is a kind old man who volunteers with SCORE to help people realize their dreams of owing their own businesses  By the end of the meeting, Hal had re-inflated my bubble and I left with a sense of hope and determination.  He told me to sit down and come up with a business plan; to put it all on paper to give me a better sense of direction and purpose.  He told me to contact the City to make sure my location will pass inspection before I make any commitments on a lease or renovations.  He told me to figure out how to cut the start-up costs down so I'll have a better chance of getting a loan.  He also told me that he's here to help and that I can schedule another meeting with him when I get the business plan together and that I can email him or call him any time for advice.

I almost feel like I have more questions now, but somehow I feel more like I'm on track and heading in the right direction.  I still have a long list of things to do though, and I'm still not exactly certain where to start, but I don't think I necessarily need to do them in a particular order, so that makes me feel a little better.  I need to:

  • contact the City to find out if my location will pass all inspections before I even decide if that's actually the perfect location
  • start writing my business plan
  • decide how to structure the business--sole proprietorship? corporation? partnership? LLC? LLP?
  • come up with a concrete list with the cost of all supplies needed before the spa opens
  • come up with a concrete list with the cost of all renovations needed before opening
  • learn what the break-even point is and how to guesstimate it
  • learn how to do a cash flow estimate
  • learn how to determine my client demographics in the surrounding area
  • come up with a business name
  • register business name as DBA
  • learn how to market the business and come up with a marketing strategy
  • research small business loan options
  • research small business grant options
  • research private investors options
  • improve my bookkeeping skills
  • not lose my mind
So either today or tomorrow I'm going to call the City and ask about permits and inspections.  Next week I'm going to start the business plan and I'm not going to let myself stress and pick it apart.  Hal said it doesn't need to be perfect.  He said the important thing is to get something down on paper and go from there, so I'm not going to let myself get to caught up in making the perfect plan.  Essentially it's a living document that's going to change over time anyway.

Looks like I've got a lot to do.  Better get started!
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Fly Lady's January Habit: Shine Your Sink

I hate doing dishes.  It's my least favorite household chore.  Because I so detest dishwater, I pretty much let the dishes pile up sky high until I literally have no clean dishes left in my house and I'm forced to wash something.  Needless to say, this drives Dennis crazy.  It drives me a little crazy, too, I just choose to ignore it and go about my day.

But not anymore!  The new improving Jessica is not going to let her dishes pile up anymore!  Thanks to Fly Lady and her amazing system of teaching yourself new and better habits to live by, I will take on all those dishes and banish them, clean and shiny, to the dish drainer and then in the morning back to their respective homes in my cabinets.  No more will they fill my sink!  No more will they pile haphazardly on my minuscule counter space!  Ha!  For this month's habit is Shining Your Sink!

Behold my shining sink!!!
Be careful, don't blind yourself!

Every night this week I've made sure to wash any and all dishes from the day, leaving a nice, shiny, empty sink to greet me in the morning.  Dennis is wondering who I am and what I've done with his wife.  

Fly Lady thinks it takes regular people 21 days to implement a new habit.  However, crazy-sidetracked-ADD-unmotivated people like me need a little more time to get our @sses in gear, so she recommends giving ourselves 28-31 days to really make a new habit stick.  Granted, I'm a little behind on my January habit (should'a/could'a/would'a started on the 1st), but better late than never.  And considering how much I hate dishes, it's a miracle I've made it a week, and I bet I can last the 31 days it'll take to become second nature!

Go me!
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The Goals

In order to reinvent myself, I feel like I need a list of goals. Without some kind of road map I'm never going to achieve the things I want to achieve or become the person I want to become. I don't want to call these goals resolutions, because new year's resolutions never hold up. People put too much pressure on themselves with a long list of resolutions and then they let themselves down by not sticking to their resolutions.

I don't want to put myself in a position where I feel worse because I haven't held up my resolutions. Instead, I'm creating a list of goals I would like to achieve. A list that can grow and change and adapt to who I am and who I am becoming. I will give myself permission to not be perfect and I will not let myself slip into a downward spiral just because I've had a bad day/week/month (hopefully not month!). I will reference this list of goals often to remind myself where I want to go and I will make lists of the things I need to do to get there. And I'll try my best to reference these to do lists and cross things off them as I do them; I'm notorious for making lists and never looking at them again. I've learned that just making the list doesn't magically accomplish the list!

So here's a rough draft of my list of goals for 2011 and beyond (in no particular order):

Start my own massage spa
Become more responsible financially
Get acting representation
Take acting classes
Learn new massage modalities
Do the Houston Co-op theatre auditions this summer
Start a blog
Take better care of myself
Take better care of my house
Take better care of my car
Loose weight
Buy a house
Get pregnant
Care about my image
Improve my time management
Eat healthier
De-clutter my house; get rid of things I don't need/use/love

I'm going to be the Little Engine that Could....

I think I can...
I think I can...
I think I can...
I think I can...
I think I can...
I think I can...

I KNOW I can!!!
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My Name is Jessica, and I'm a Mess

My name is Jessica, and I'm a mess. I lack motivation. I procrastinate - a lot. I have self diagnosed Adult ADD and, therefore, can't focus on anything. I have great intentions but have zero follow through. I get frustrated easily. I'm afraid of success, so I don't try; failure is familiar and feels safe. I don't push my limits. I suffer from anxiety and mild depression. I'm an underachiever and an under earner. In short, I'm a mess, and I guess that's why I'm starting this blog.

I have a picture in my mind of the person I want to be. I'm tired of sitting on my butt not accomplishing anything. So I'm going to start trying to change my bad habits and negative outlook on things. This blog will be the chronicle of what I am doing to make myself a better person.


The Reinvention of Jessica.


This is the beginning of a new year, and what better time to reinvent oneself than at the beginning?

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