It has been a while since I have blogged. I have been so busy trying to get the cabinet doors finished by Valentine's day, that I have not had any time to write.  It is two weeks before the end of my goal and I have not yet gone public with my "public humiliation" challenge.  

For the public humiliation challenge to work, it has to have a sufficient incentive to work through those hours I would rather be doing something else.  It also has to be something that doable, albeit embarrassing.  This challenge, inspired by Valentine's Day, fits the bill on all accounts.  

If the doors are not installed by Valentine's Day, on February 15, I will go to CVS and by the biggest and the most tacky Valentine's Day reject on clearance.  I will then prominently display it on my front porch until the last door is swinging on its hinges or it gets stolen (Wait...there is no chance of it getting stolen!!!)

Here is the latest update:

I love my children. It is a joy to be with them (usually).  However, the reality is they can bring a project to a screeching halt with no warning.  My two year old can do it with two words; "Potty bad!".  I take her potty, on the way back, I check the source of some very loud noises coming from my other children, clean up some blood.....Before I can get back to my project, an hour has elapsed! "Why has your wife not helped?" you may ask.  The kids always time it precisely to coincide with the feeding of the baby.

At the end of a day of work, almost nothing is done.  This is how things were at the beginning of Snail's Pace Challenge.  It quickly became apparent that something would need to change if there would be any chance of success.  The change, I realized, was that I needed to get the children involved and eager.  To do this, I made a "Master Checklist" with 118 tasks.  Every tenth check, the children get to choose something special to do.  The child who helps the most gets to have the most say in the decision.  If we finish the entire list before September 14, the on year mark, we will go on a family vacation and the children can choose the destination.  The last trick up my sleeve is the Public Humiliation Challenge.  This is an incentive to keep me going and also to keep it fun for the children.  

Since starting Snail's Pace Challenge, I have found that the more I keep the children involved, the less they sabotage the effort.  Also, having children present while I work, teaches valuable skills and a good work ethic.  My nine year old son summed it up recently; "Dad, I have really learned to like working". 

I am like a freight train when I work on a project.  It is hard to get started, hard to stop and even harder to get started again once I do stop.

The building of the cabinet doors was one such project.  The train was progressing.  I was eager to finish.  Then came Thanksgiving.  I had to stop before the projects completion.  Of course, it would only be for two days.  The day after Thanksgiving, I would be back at it in full force, or so I thought.  That day, an elderly relative fell and suddenly had to go into assisted living.  We spent the next several days getting her moved and dealing with all of her stuff.  I also had a heavy load of work at my shop.  The heavily, laden freight train was stopped at the bottom of a hill.  I was at a low point wondering if Snail's Pace Challenge could be resurrected.

After about four weeks of reluctant neglect, everything changed with one seemingly insignificant incident.  My nine year old son asked me for a stamp to send in a form for a drawing to win a Lego video game.  I told him no because the chances of winning are so small and I do not want him spending time on it if he did win.  Then I got an idea.  Every tenth item completed on our master list, we do something special.  It old my son that I would send in his form if we get our 30th check before the offer expires on Feb. 14.  I have never seen a child so enthusiastic about getting work done.  We have nine checks to go before we get to 30, so we chose to finish the cabinet doors which counts for the ten checks.

Every day this week, he woke me up to get some work done before I went to work.  It is Saturday morning and we hope to get a lot of work done today. 

Time to get busy!!!

I just sat down to finally catch up on this blog when I looked at the date of my last post, November 30, 2013.  Phew, where did the last month go??? Honestly, I'm not sure what happened to it all, but here we are, looking forward to a new year.  

In the line of house projects and the Snail's Pace Challenge, not much happened for the month of December.  My grandma was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gherhig's) and we had to rapidly move her to an assisted living facility and help liquidate her belongings.  We also had two birthdays to celebrate along with Christmas right in the middle of everything.  To say it was a tad bit crazy is an understatement.

After the whole Thanksgiving disappointment of not completing the kitchen cabinet doors, Art lost a lot of ambition and focus to get back into the swing of things.  So this past Saturday, I encouraged Art to take a look at our One Year Goal Chart and to find a small project that he could tackle in just a short amount of time.  I was hoping that if he began to accomplish some small checks it might inspire and reinvigorate him to start at the kitchen cabinets once again.  After studying the list, we choose to put outlet covers on the outlets in the kitchen as well fix our bathroom door.  We assembled our list of needed supplies and head to our local Lowes to pick up what we needed. Unfortunately, they didn't have the type of outlet covers that I wanted so that project was put on hold.  To fix the bathroom door, Art would just need to remove and re-install the molding around the door, allowing the door to finally latch properly.  It didn't seem like that big of a project.  Here is the video of him fixing the door:
Since he finished the project prior to dinner, he had enough time to work on another project.  A few months back, when he completed the outside side of the house, he had started to installing the weights in the back window.  But that is when Thanksgiving came around along with the kitchen cabinet doors.  The double hung window panes just sat next to my compost bin and pantry waiting to be finished.  It wasn't a hard job but it just took time to finish it up.  So, Art decided to try to finish that up on Saturday as well.  I'm pleased to say that he did just that! YAY!  My back window was complete, weights included, and all in time for some sub-zero temperatures to hit this week.

So, I do believe that is the most recent happenings around here.  To keep up to date on the most current projects, visit us on Facebook.
I strove valiantly to complete my cabinet doors before the Thanksgiving dinner.  You, my readers, were pulling for me to finish on time, but alas, I have let you down.  

A lot has happened in the last few weeks.  There has been a lot of work to do at my shop.  Also an elderly relative suddenly needed our assistance.  That along with the daily needs of five children made it difficult. 

However, Snail's Pace Challenge is not about making excuses.  We know life will be chaotic and difficult so we just need to work through it.  

On the bright side, I finished the three things that she wanted before Thanksgiving: 1. Fix the dish washer 2. Paint the back of the stairs 3. Install the storm door.  The 80 year old storm door was found by the side of the road about 5 years ago.  It looked really ugly with the worn paint and two missing panes of glass.  It was also six inches too short.  But I saw the potential! After six evenings of work, it is now a beautiful addition to our house. 
Back to the cabinet doors: since they were not finished by our Thanksgiving dinner, the "Public Humiliation" kicked in.  I had to eat my entire dinner with a flimsy plastic knife as my sole utensil, with 20 guests in attendance.  It was not as bad as you would think.  It was my first Thanksgiving that I did not eat too much.  I even thought about how I could market the "Plastic Knife Weight Loss Program".
After a hue and cry, I have realized the error of my ways. I now know how much you want the "Public Humiliation". To make amends; if I do not finish my cabinet doors by Thanksgiving, I will eat my entire Thanksgiving dinner with a flimsy plastic knife as my sole utensil. I am sure my family and relatives would love to get some video footage of this with the doorless cabinets in the background. 

That is all for now. I need to get busy working. 

Written by Art:

The gauntlet has been thrown down! My wife wanted three things accomplished before we host our Thanksgiving dinner.

1. Fix the dishwasher
2. Paint the backs of the stairs going up to our 2nd floor
3. Install a front storm door.

Project numbers one and two are already done and I am eager to finish number three.  Yesterday, I started working on the storm door which needed to be scraped, painted and installed.

So, you may be asking yourself, "Why has the gauntlet been thrown down"?  I mentioned that in addition to those three projects, I could also have the eleven cabinet doors finished and installed, all before Thanksgiving.  My wife was incredulous along with most of my children. The only exception was my five year old son who loves to help me work.

Today is November 6.  Thanksgiving is only twenty-two days away. Can I do it? Take the survey! But remember, I am determined and the world is watching, eagerly waiting for me and cheering me on.  Well...they probably aren't, but I will proceed as though they are.  

As for the "Public Humiliation", I think not accomplishing it will be humiliation enough!
Today, my parents stopped by in the morning to say "hi".  They were not even at the house five minutes, when my 9-year old son says something like "yuck" and then I turn around to find him wiping his bare foot on my entry rug, leaving a large white spot on the rug AND on the wood floor next to the rug.  Turns out that he just stepped in a pile of paint.  I start hunting for the paint and lo and behold, my husband spilled a nice pile of paint on the rubber rug going down to the basement.  My Dad took the rug outside to hose it off and I went to work on the paint on the rug.  Ten minutes later, all the paint was picked up and everything was good again.  My Dad commented and said, "There's never a dull moment around here, is there!"

Fast forward to tonight.  My husband picked up a can of paint and set it on the stairs so he can start working on painting the backs of them.  Before he starts to paint, we both enjoy a lovely piece of wild berry pie and discuss what is next on the agenda.  We clean up the dishes and he heads over to the stairs to start painting.  He picks up the can of paint and what happens next but paint goes flying across the entryway room and over the rug that I had just cleaned earlier this morning!  The paint can had rusted away on the bottom and there was a small hole, leaking paint.  We had purchased the paint back in May of 2008 and the can was 3/4 full.  But we had stored it in our basement which tends to get very damp in the summer.  Apparently, the moisture just rusted the can right through.  So now my husband is going to need to go through all the cans of paint in the basement to make sure that none of them have any holes in them.  Just add the project to the list!
If you have ever tried to build or fix up something, you probably know that things never, ever, ever go as planned or expected.  Our first challenge was definitely an exception! 

Originally, our kitchen cabinet challenge was supposed to be completed by Monday, October 21, 2013. But shortly have beginning the challenge, sickness ensued our family and work came to, well, literally, a snail's pace.  Monday came and went and very little cabinet work had been done.  We didn't complete our challenge in time so it was time for the public humiliation challenge.

Yesterday afternoon, Art put the sign out in front of our house saying, "Honk to encourage me to finish my cabinets".  The sign was not out long before we heard our first encouraging honk.  As the daylight grew dim, we heard a few more honks, each time bringing a smile to Art's face and pure glee from my children, happily announcing that someone else had just honked!

Today, Art spent the morning home trying to get the cabinets at least glued together so I can put my dining room back together again.  He got most of the cabinet together, but as he glued and clamped, everything shrunk a tiny little bit making the largest board not to fit.  That entailed him having to chisel and cut here and there, attempting to get the board to fit.   

The good news is that he has almost completed the fitting of that last board.  Then it's time to screw everything together and then finally hanging them on the wall.  

Things have not gone as smoothly as I would have liked, but at least there is some progress and soon I should have my cabinets up.  After living like this for almost 4 years, I'm not sure that I will know what to do with all the extra space!!!