Sunday, October 14, 2018

The Purpose of Organized Religion-at least for me

This last week was very church-y for me. This was for a variety of reasons, involving my recent assignment to be the ward (congregation) choir director, my kids getting old enough to ask me hard questions about our faith, and it being one of the two General Conferences my church holds annually. For those who don't know a lot about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), we get to stay home and watch church on TV twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall.  I highly recommend watching church in PJ's in your living room, if you can find a way to make it meaningful and keep yourself from getting too comfy and falling asleep. Anyway, there are five 2 hr sessions over the course of one weekend, during which various Church leaders each talk about a Gospel subject of their choice. It is wonderful, but that is one big mental and spiritual download, Whew! 

So with all that going on, I found myself thinking about church a lot this week. Not so much church, as in "the teachings about God through the scriptures", but rather the physical and practical church...Sunday School and Mass and Youth Groups...the human/"going to the chapel" side of Church. 

One of my kids recently asked me, "Mom, if I can connect with God when I pray, and I try to be a good person everyday, why do I have to go to church?" I have been asking myself and thinking about this question for the better part of my life. Over time, I gradually gained a variety of insights and experiences that felt like an answer and have just moved forward and kept attending with those things in mind.  But this week, I got An Answer.

Now, before all of you check out because this is a "church post" (which it is, and please feel free to bail if you are so inclined.), understand that I try to write in a way that appeals, or is at least accessible to anyone who believes in a positive force in the Universe. So while these thoughts are couched in my faith, you might keep reading and see if they can help your own journey to find the Goodness in this life. 

My Answer happened while I was sitting in a chair staring at the wall, petting my dog and not writing in the journal open in my lap. I started thinking, "Why would God council us all to go to church? What could His purpose there be?" And I tried to imagine what Church would be like without all our human stupidity coming into play, imagining what purpose an infinitely wise and kind God would have in giving that instruction to gather and worship.

When I say "my Answer happened" what I mean is one second I was asking the question, without having a clue what the answer was, and the next second I had a full, rich understanding deep in my soul of the answer, like I had known and tested this new information so thoroughly there was no point in thinking anything else. It was just wisdom.

God simply started by reminding me of the conversation between Christ and one of the many learned community leaders, where the man asks Jesus, "Master, which is the great commandment in the Law? (referring to the entire Torah)" Christ answers, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like  unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." (Matthew 22:35-40)

These two ideas are supposed to be the absolute center of a Christian's life, to love God and love our fellow man. "Great!" I thought. "But what does that have to do with church?" 

This question is exactly why we all have the opinion we do about organized religion. 

God patiently continued by showing me that His intention is for a person to gather with other people who believe the same things about God. The point being to share the insights and experiences and enlightenment they have found in an effort to help give each other comfort, hope, and clarity. This group provides the potential to become friends and the opportunity to serve. It builds a community of people who will challenge each other and help each other and guide each other and push each other. Love your God. Love your fellow man. 

I was completely stupefied by the beauty and simplicity of this power of this idea By the accessibility of it. By the wisdom of it. By the hope and compassion and humanity it opened my mind to. I just sat and felt the elegance and truth of it coursing through me for several minutes. And I'll be honest, I was a lot humbled by it. I have gone to Church almost every week of my entire life, and this had never even occurred to me. 

If I look, I can see these two ideas, "Love god, Love your fellow man", woven into the seams and bricks of all the major religions I am familiar with. But I think it gets obscured by the "Thou shalts" and "Thou shalt nots" that are so much easier to measure. It gets lost in our self doubt and our fears and our bad experiences. It is forgotten in our boredom, and our selfishness, and our haste to get on with things. It gets lost in shocking news stories of egregious behavior of religious leaders in this time and ages past. It gets lost in the cries of anger and pain as we forget that we are human, in our animal moments. But it is there, just the same. Waiting in the sun to be seen. 

I think there are many who do understand this connection between church worship and the Two Great Commandments. And I rejoice that I am finally among their ranks. I have always tried to look for the person sitting alone in a pew, because when I was younger, it was often me alone. I often share my spiritual ideas and experiences, because I enjoy sharing with others and because I have a hard time keeping my ideas to myself. But somehow, the fact that doing these things is the point makes it all so much more meaningful. Church becomes the place where it is easy to like our Savior. 

It is so lovely to think of a community of people acting and speaking with an eye toward the well being of each other. Oh wait. Isn't that how heaven is described? I bet, with a ton of mindfulness, we could do it here. 

Love your God, Love you neighbor. 

Maybe that's what I will start praying for next. 

Talk to you soon,

CM Shaw

Friday, October 5, 2018

Digging Out the Studio Week 11ish: Last Week With the Sisters

If I remember correctly, this week started with a panic attack. Most of which had nothing to do with the basement and everything to do with me leaving town for 3 weeks on 3 different trips, all of which had to be planned and finalized by me. I am sure that several of you are aces when it comes to travel logistics when you are going to Hawaii for a week with just your husband, then coming home for 3 days, then driving your college student across the country, and then driving back across the country a different way with your girlfriend, ultimately arriving home the day before school starts. But I am not great at that kind of things. 

In fact, it made me cry. So much so, that I called one of my best friends for back up. 

She is married to a former army colonel, and moved about a billion times in her younger life. She is a pro at dealing with "stuff" when you are up against a deadline. She gave me some of the most practical advice I have ever gotten in my life. "Accept that you are leaving and this project is over for now. Put post-it notes on everything so you remember what you were doing with it and put it away. And for heaven's sake! Quit feeling sorry for yourself. You are running away to Hawaii for a week!"

So I dried my tears, got out my Post-its, and started making decisions. I "post-it'd" every single pile or item sitting on my tables. It took an entire afternoon, and I was wiped out when I was done, but I did feel better. 

You can see a few of my post its here and there. By the time I was done, there were little yellow papers everywhere.

Funny thing. By the time the sisters got there that Wednesday, These tables were almost empty. Once the post-it notes were there, I could go downstairs and just start doing whatever the post-it said, without really having to think about it. I could talk on the phone and deal with things. I could watch a movie (sort of) and deal with things. I could come downstairs for 5 minutes and just follow the directions on the post its. It was magic. 

One of the things remaining on the table was a can of Venetian Plaster that I had used to cover the paneling next to my fireplace. It was partly dried out, but still flexible. Sister Anderson had given it up for dead, but I knew better. Partly dried out is kind of like being "mostly dead." You are still partly alive. Thank you Miracle Max. So I added some water and put it back on the table. 

Sister Anderson was fascinated by and completely dubious about this. 

After it set for a while, she decided to try stirring it. I let her move the chunks around for a while and then shewed her away. About once an hour she went and checked that plaster, to see if it was stir-able yet.

She stirred. And waited.

 And she stirred. And waited.

And eventually, it actually became liquid again. 
So at least there is one happy ending to this story.

While Sister Anderson was stirring, Sister Kleven was getting down with my bag of cassette tapes. Her job was to match cassettes to cases and put them all in the nylon carrying case we still have from Al's high school years. See it over there to the right? And yes, just for the record, I was a teenager in the 80's. Cassette tapes, big hair and all. I still miss the big hair and spiral perms, with their accompanying clouds of AquaNet. Good times. Good times.

For some reason, this job made Sister Kleven super happy. Apparently she has a nostalgic spot in her heart for cassettes. I suppose this makes sense as I am plenty old enough to be her mother. Sigh. 

When Sister Anderson wasn't stirring, I put her to work dealing with the leftover bags of screws. I think we figured out what to do with them, and then I think I changed my mind. She was very patient, but secretly annoyed at me I think. 

Here's the original plan, notice the smile:

Here's the new plan, notice the lack of looking at me (and the photo bomber in both pics):

Next, we tackled the pile of broken down boxes in the playroom. This pile had gotten quite large during the cleaning up process. 

I love giving 20 somethings sharp tools, don't you? This girl got crazy with the box cutter. 

And this girl looks cute even when she has to clean up after her companion. 

Once I pinned her down and wrestled got the box cutter out of Sister Anderson's hand, we had the space and focus to tackle straightening the misplaced star on the wall. You can read about how the stars got on the wall here and here

After much consulting, we all agreed when the "right" location for the star was. 

The Sisters moved the Command hook. And put the star back up.

And there was much rejoicing. To be honest, I think the Sisters would have snuck over here in the night and fixed it in the dark, if I hadn't let them do it this time. It was bugging both of them to know it was in the wrong place. #designOCD

In honor of all of their efforts, my youngest painted Sister Anderson and Sister Kleven each a mini canvas with the first initial of their last name. It was so cute.  They were delighted, as she had asked them each what their favorite color was and had used those colors in the composition. Along with the canvases were homemade Warm Fuzzies in coordinating colors. If you haven't even made pom poms at home. You should. It's super fun, if kind of messy. 

Anyway, once we got the stars up, it was time to put the basement away until I got home from my many adventures and had time to get back to it. I've been home for over a month now, and it still waits for me, patiently, Post-it directions sitting quietly on their piles. In the mean time, the studio is totally useful. I cut a board for a project on my saw the other day. DK was totally impressed by just how accessible it was. And that man is hard to impress. 

See? Even Sister Kleven is giving this job the "finished, at least for now" Thumbs Up. I have no idea what Sister Anderson is thinking. But she looks hungry.

So we all headed upstairs for ice cream.

And the requisite selfie of a job well done. 

Epilogue: Since these photos were taken, Sister Anderson had been transferred twice. The first time, she was going to train and brand new companion's VISA for the country she was called to came through, so she went there, instead of coming here. (Sometimes missionaries, like Sister Anderson, get called to countries where they have extended VISA waits. Sister Anderson was called to serve in Turkey. But came here to the Washington DC South Mission to wait out her VISA and still be actively working.) So Sister Anderson became part of another trio with Sister Kleven and a brand new missionary, Sister Young. Sister Anderson was here for one more transfer and then found out her mission has been changed to Bulgaria, once she gets a VISA, due to political unrest in Turkey. She is currently serving in another area of this mission, ironically in the same ward as my cousin. 

Sister Kleven is still in Burke. She has been here for 10 months now, and she and Sister Young came over for dinner on Monday. Both are doing well. 

That's all I've got for you today. 

Talk to you soon,

CM Shaw

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Digging the Studio Out Week 9: Moving Furniture and Building the Saw

I have decided that I am not a reliable source when it comes to numbering my posts from a long series. The photo trail tells me it's week 9, but I already wrote a post about Week 10 and these pics are from the same week. In any case, it was a busy week and I got a ton done. So for the sake of me not having to renumber everything, this will be Week 9. And next week we will skip to Week 11. You guys all totally know what I am talking about, right? Me neither.

So this was the week I really decided to tackle the deeper mess. My kids were all at camp all day everyday, so I put up my big folding tables and put everything out on them. It was so cathartic to see it all NOT in my studio. There is something about seeing something in a different location. It changes from "that blob over there" into something you actually see. 

A lot of this week was spent organizing this stuff into coherent groupings, 
so I could see what I had and figure out where and how to store it.  

By the end of the week, I had things in decently organized piles. It was so random, you guys. I really do have a little bit of everything. And a whole bunch of stuff that I needed to get rid of. 

One of the most surprising things was that I had rarely used anything that anyone who was moving had given me. And with all the military families in the area, there are always people moving. And I always think I can make use of stuff. So I take it. I had extra tiles, craft kits, various types of paint, lumber, you name it. Most of it was at least 5 years old, a lot of it closer to 8 or 10 yrs, and I had never even touched it. So much for "perfectly good," right? 

Out it all went. Along with a ton of projects that I don't really want enough to finish. They just aren't "me" or I have changed focus or I never really liked them that much to begin with. I just gave myself permission to keep anything I really wanted to work on and made myself get rid of anything that I didn't want to finish enough to put it on the calendar. And I felt so free after it was gone!

It was about this point that the Sisters showed up for the week. 

In case you guys are wondering, 

yes, Blackberry Ginger Ale is the bomb, and 

yes, Sister missionaries do make everything more fun. 

I was tired of sorting by they time they got there, so I decided it was time to use 
their muscles and move furniture around in the studio. This is how things started: 

After a lot of trial and error, we decided to move the plastic shelving across from the saw, to slide the large wooden workbench down as far as possible towards my drawing table, and to move the fluorescent light fixture on a completely different diagonal over the table.

We kept a gap between the table and the wall so I can 
hang stuff to dry on the boards and clips. 

But the biggest change we made, and the project that kept the Sisters busy for the brunt of their time there, came from my garage. My wonderful dad had bought me a stand for my miter saw last Christmas. It was still in its box, taking up valuable parking space. We decided It Was Time. (7 months in the garage is actually pretty fast for me. Sigh)

The first thing we had to do was get it into the house and down the steps: 

I think we only slipped once. And Sister Kleven was being supportive and filmed the whole thing, being careful to laugh into her elbow so we couldn't hear her. That stand was so much heavier than I thought it would be! Sheesh! But Sister Anderson was a champ, carrying the load from the bottom. 

We got it in the studio and they started unpacking. 

They found the directions at the very end, because, of course
 I opened the box upside down.

I made them check to be sure we had all the pieces before they started. It took a while, but I have gotten in the middle of a building project too many times, and not had all the piece I need to finish. So maddening!

It was trickier than we thought, but little by little, the stand came together. 

And here is the finished product:

My precious! I love this so much. 

My saw is so much easier to use in the middle of the room on the stand. Before, the poor thing was useless, squashed into the corner. Can you even find it here? Tell me how I was going to cut anything like that.

The Sisters had to go at this point. But I still had two kid free days. So I kept working.

At some point, I realized that this blank wall was a peg board. Duh.

So I went to WalMart and with the addition of  a few hooks and dowels,

I turned it into the perfect home for my pretty papers that have been all bagged up for years. I went back for more hooks and added all my maps to the pile. It is one of my favorite parts of this renovation. 

The peg board hooks solved another problem for me. I have had these pieces of fence and banister for years. With my new hooks, they became usable! I started out with them under the shelves, but I decided that I wanted something else there.

So I just moved them above the shelves. And I LOVE the way they look!

I fussed and moved things around for the rest of the week. I tried so many variations.  I even found a home for my unsold book lamp. This was exciting, because it meant I could keep it. I really needed some light right in the middle of the space after I moved my ceiling light. And  it was so much easier to work on with the debris out on the tables, instead of cluttering up the space I was trying to work on. By the end of that week, it had turned into a space that I loved.

 I haven't felt like that in years. 

I'm not done yet, and there were still two tables full of debris in the other room, 
but I really felt like I turned a corner towards "success" during Week 9. 

Have you guys ever just pulled ALL THE THINGS out and refused to put them back until you had made sense of them? I'd love to hear about it.

Talk to you soon,

CM Shaw

Friday, September 21, 2018

Digging Out The Studio Week 8: Whipping Things into Shape

I usually feed the Sisters lunch when they come and help me. I rarely plan the meal before hand, and they have been very enthusiastic about whatever I manage to cobble together. This week they scored. We had pie for dessert. And at my house, no pie is complete without a little whipped cream.

This was a funny week. The sisters were feeling a bit silly. Maybe because it was mid summer, or because we had been doing this for so long. Maybe it was because I made them scrub cabinet doors the week before. Who knows. But Sister Anderson was very keen to show us her mad whipped cream skills. Apparently she has perfected a technique where she sprays a dollop of whipped cream on her arm and then flings it into her mouth by smacking her arms one on top of the other. I promise it looks more coherent than it sounds.

She did eventually get it in her mouth. And then she got the great idea that Sister Kleven should try to use her arm to fling the whipped cream into her (Sister Anderson's) mouth. 

Major hyjinx ensued. I do not think this was the first take.

Nothing like your companion "helping you" enjoy some whipped cream.

We did eventually put the whipped cream back in the fridge and go downstairs to work.

When I looked at Week 8's pictures, it took me a sec to figure out what we did, because I have them doing two different things at the same time in two different places. This is a "no." Missionary companions must remain in the same room with each other and being in eyesight of each other is preferred.  And these girls are far too obedient to break mission rules. 

That's when I realized that Sister Anderson was outside on my patio, not in the studio. Sister Kleven is right on the other side of the glass door in the playroom, sitting at the craft table, about 10 ft away and with full visual contact. Total compliance. We even cracked open the sliding glass door so we could talk back and forth. 

What you are seeing above is Sister Anderson making one of my silly little dreams come true. A neighbor of mine had taken some trees down in their back yard, and I asked for a slice 2 inches thick to use as a base for a centerpiece for my dining room table. They brought me the requested slice, and it was perfect, except for one thing. It was only level on one side .The other side had a very distinct slope, making it worthless for the project I had intended it for. Sigh. 

A few visits to Pinterest later, I found a great idea. (Check it out here.) Someone clever had drilled regularly spaced holes in a slice of wood and used it to store colored pencils. Brilliant! I wanted one immediately. So of course, the slab of wood sat in my studio for about two years. And that was after it sat in my dining room for a year. 

I had already decided that the Sisters were going to finish the mending and craft projects that I wanted to do, but hadn't ever gotten to. So Sister Anderson got the wood slab, a piece of chalk, and the drill. If you look carefully, you can see the nice spiral she drew as a guide to help her drill in the right places. You gotta love detail oriented slave labor. And it turned out awesome! It has become one of my New Favorite Things.

Sister Kleven got a glue gun and all my things that needed to be re-glued. The only project I can remember off the top of my head was a Mardi Gras mask that needed to have its rhinestones reattached.  It turned out fabulously and I was not even surprised that Sister Kleven is a wiz with a glue gun. That girl has serious crafting skilz.

The final project we worked on that day dealt with the stars that Sister Kleven has grown to know so well. (you can read more about them here) We needed to hang them over the newly painted Mid Century sideboard. I put Sister Kleven to work measuring the distance from the tip of the stars to when the Command hook would sit on the star's wire hanger so we knew how high to place the base for the Command hook. Look how sassy and accurate she is!

They make it look so easy. And I love that Sister Kleven is standing on an ottoman to be taller. I do have step stools in the studio, about 20 steps away. Then again, maybe I was being paranoid about the sideboard getting scratched. 

What you are not seeing in this picture is the comedy of errors that was the three of us on stools and tip toes, each holding up stars, trying to decide if they were in the right place or not. Sadly, there was no way to shoot that, since all of us were using all our hands and wits to hold things up and not fall over.

The good news is we got all those stars on the wall. The bad news is that one of them was just a tiny bit off, so I didn't take a picture of the completed wall. I ended up moving it to the right place within the week, but didn't take a picture then either. You will just have to wait to see it until the room is done. Sorry. But take my word. It looks so much better than it did before we started all this. So much better.

Are you all moving your projects forward this week? Or do you have mad whipped cream skills? Tell us all about it in the comments below. We'd love to hear from you. 

Talk to you soon 

CM Shaw

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Digging Out the Studio Week 7: The Garage Spray Booth

I love looking at the folders of pictures as I start writing these posts. It's been long enough now that I forgot what was going on in my life, and it's amusing to remember all the billions of variables playing out and swirling around the studio clean up. Some weeks it actually makes me feel kind of incredible that I was able to keep moving this project forward, with all the other things happening. 

And during week 7, I wasn't able to keep it moving. We didn't even go into the studio actually, due to an even bigger project that fell into my lap. Well two projects, really. 

So you all remember the story I was telling you about the Mid Century Sideboard I had started cleaning up? If not, check it out here. It's about the top middle of the post. Go on. We'll wait...

Well, I kept working on the sideboard for the next couple of days after the Sisters left. (They come over every Wednesday afternoon) Sometime that same weekend I finally finished all the prep work and decided to start painting it. This was a much more monumental decision than you would think, because I had decided to use a sprayer. 

My sister gave me one when I flew out to Oregon to design her house about 2 years ago and I had never used it. It was still new in the box. I had been waiting for another, less favorite and irreplaceable piece of furniture to present itself as my "practice" piece. Alas, non had materialized. And the sideboard was ready and waiting. So I busted out my huge plastic drop cloth, stapled it to my deck and draped it across the lawn, read the directions on the sprayer box, moved the sideboard back outside, and got my spray on. 

It was glorious! Such smooth, brush-less layers! And the sprayer was so easy to use. (I have this one, but I think my sister got it on I spritzed and sprayed, being sure to keep the paint even and catch all the nooks and crannies. After a few passes, I realized that I could use this little machine competently. Which left just one thing to worry about. 

The weather.

The paint I used, Benjamin Moore Advance, is oil based and therefore requires almost twice the drying time of latex or other, water-based paints. The one thing that could undo all my careful prep work, would be rain. And if you have ever lived in the Mid Atlantic in the summer, you know the only constant about the weather is that it can always rain. 

So I checked the Doppler and checked the hourly forecast repeatedly. 

I was good to go. 

Or so I thought.

I had planned on bringing the sideboard back inside at the 4 hr mark, when the directions said it would be "dry to the touch." I had cleaned up the sprayer and settled in with my kids for a bit of binging on a few episodes of  The Great British Baking Show, when I heard the rain. And it wasn't raining. It was pouring. Stupid Doppler.

My oldest and I bolted outside and had that thing in the house in about 4 minutes flat. But by that time, the damage was done. My beautiful, smooth, perfect finish was starting to run in rivers of white. The top had to be blotted dry, each touch of the towel taking paint and leaving blotches. 

I dried it off, turned out the lights in the basement, and just walked back upstairs, because I  was in shock that all my careful work had been so quickly and easily ruined. No Words.

And FYI, I totally recommend the Great British Baking Show, if you need to be distracted from having a project you've waited years to do get completely undone by rain that shouldn't have been there. I seriously forgot all about it, until I woke up the next morning. 

When I woke up, two things occurred to me. First, I had used an oil based primer known for being tough as nails for the the base coat, so there should be no water damage to the wood since I dried the water off. And second, this was the only first of three coats of paint. I could sand it and smooth everything out, and due to the succeeding layers, no one would ever know what a disaster the first coat had been. Whew! What a difference a little sleep and watching a lot of baking shows can make.

Needless to say, I moved my spray booth out of the yard and into my garage. I hadn't done this initially, because it requires a ton of masking. And it takes over your entire garage until you are completely finished. And with the drying time of this particular paint being so long, I wanted to try everything else first. But there I was. So the plastic tarps went up everywhere and my car was banished to the driveway until further notice.

At this same time, a good friend of mine was moving. She had just bought a house she loved after living in a rental that she did not love for a way too long, and was keen to make the place "hers." After popping over there during the inspection, because why would I wait until she actually owned the house like a normal person? Do you know how long escrow can take?, I realized that she had ugly wood cabinets that she hated in her new kitchen and that I had a spray gun in my basement. It was the perfect combination for a really fun service project. Initially, I was hoping to paint the kitchen cabinet doors at her place, but when I had to move the spray booth to my garage anyway, it just became apparent that doing the spraying at my place made way more sense. 

Enter the sister missionaries. (Oh come on. You knew I would get there eventually.) By the time they showed up Wednesday of Week 7, I had finished the sideboard. 

It turned out really well. And weeks and months later I am still geeking out about how great it looks. 

With the sideboard out of the way, that left a stack of nasty brown cabinet doors taking up my garage space. I gave each of the girls a pair of rubber gloves, some scrubby sponges, and some cleaner. We put up a few funky folding tables and started degreasing and deep cleaning cabinet doors from the 1970's. Such fun! 

The tool they are using is called a "5 in 1". It's a painter's tool used to get crud out of creases and tight corners, super useful for removing caulk from the tub or windows, and perfect for getting off nasty chunks of who knows what from old cabinet doors. 

Ironically, the previous Monday was the one day every six weeks, when the church office changes where the missionaries live and who they work with. This day is called "transfers". We all had a feeling that one of the three sisters was going to another area, so I gave them all a present at church the Sunday before transfers. And what did that present happen to be? Each girl got her own "5 in 1" of course! (well, theirs were "6 in 1's", if we're being technical. Their version had a brass plate on the handle base you can use like a hammer. So awesome!) I thought it was super appropriate to give a tool as a "thank you" to my handy little helpers. And this IS my favorite tool. 

It was a good thing I did too, because just as predicted, Sister Merritt got transferred. So sad, but totally how things work. Well, unless you are Sister Kleven. I think she was assigned to the "Burke, Virginia" Mission, while all the other missionaries here here were assigned to the "Washington DC South" mission. That girl has been here forever, with no sign of leaving. It's September. She got here in April, and she's still here. 

Anyway, cleaning. Then the sanding, because I couldn't use these girls as slave labor unless there were power tools involved, right? So we busted out the palm sander.

This is Sister Anderson checking for perfection. I am not even joking. I am super anal about smoothness, and even my standard wasn't high enough for her. We ended up giving her the two biggest, nastiest doors to work on, because she is totally OCD very focused and was taking forever with the cleaning and sanding.

See what I mean? The girl is meticulous. 

So we've moved on to the palm sander, but look. It's still the same door! 
Sister Kleven had done 3 or 4 small ones by this point. And in Sister Anderson's defense, those two doors were smooth as a baby's butt when she was finally done.

Since she was so good with the details, I let Sister Anderson figure out how much water we need to mix into the primer, so it would work in the sprayer. And yes, I tried to send the girl's home once the cabinets were all clean and sanded, because I felt bad about making them work so hard, but they looked at me with sad eyes and said, "You mean we don't get to use the paint sprayer?" True story.

I am telling you, this girl can rock any weird piece of safety equipment you make her wear.

We had a little tutorial against the plastic, where they both had to practice, until it looked like they had the necessary spraying distance and layering patterns down, and then I let them at it for real.

Here is Sister Kleven, showing us how it's done:

She really liked the paint sprayer. We may or may not have had to take it away from her, because she got the "Crazy Eyes."


Since it was the primer coat, I wasn't too worried about things being perfect. But of course Sister Anderson was. And they both did such a nice job. Great work any day, but even better considering they were a pair of newbies.

And here's how the cabinet doors turned out:

They sprayed until all the cabinet doors we had were primed, even the big, perfectly smooth ones. At this point I kicked them out, in spite of protests that they wanted to help clean out the paint sprayer. In all, I think they saved me about 5-6 hrs in cleaning and sanding, just by being two extra pairs of hands. Service hours anyone?

Great job girls! And thanks so much.

Any of you all have an adventure with a paint sprayer this week? 
Or have rain that shouldn't have been there ruin your plans? 
I'd love to hear about it in the comments.

Talk to you soon,

CM Shaw