Hacking Ikea - Drona and Expedit Come Home

I've had issues with organization in my bedroom closet since, well, the beginning of time really.  It's compounded by the fact that I lack the skills to install a closet organizer because my walls have two inches of plaster on them instead of the normal one inch.  Without one of these I was forced to try other methods of keeping the clothing chaos in check.  I had the cheap plastic bins for a while, followed by me having a dresser and then not having a dresser (that was an Ikea product fail).  My latest attempt at sanity was those drawers that hang over the rod in my closet.  It was a good idea for a minute and then it all went wrong.

The problem is the drawers don't really slide in and out, and the ones above/below the one I'm using can fall out or be awkward.  And then Ikea stopped making the drawers for those things all together.  Suck it.  I liked that I could change out the items in the bins relatively easily so I could go from long underwear to shorts in a flash, and that was the one feature of the system I really wanted to preserve.  I did some 'research' on the internet and around town, made a plan, and then planned out a shopping trip.  I had decided on Expedit shelves and Drona boxes.  I also looked at Lekman boxes but opted against them for bad colors and because they're more than twice the price of the others.  I also found this great suggestion and thought I'd try something along those lines.

My Pooky Bear and I headed over to Ikea on Saturday afternoon.  Mall of America traffic was backed up onto the freeway.  I overheard a worker saying it's not bad until they have to close down 494.  What?!?  I was switfly reminded why we don't go near Ikea or Mall of America on a Saturday afternoon.  Because I had my shopping list ahead of time, it was a relatively short trip.  We had to head over to a fabric store as well because my Pooky Bear was not satisfied with the selection at Ikea.  Pooky Bear told me she loves shopping with me because I just let her pick everything out.  True story - she's picked out the paint for every room in my apartment too.  Whatever.  She's earned it.

Assembly - Pooky Bear has a system for Ikea furniture assembly and walked me through the process nicely.  The Expedit goes together pretty easily.  Two people are required for the bigger pieces, even if they say you can do it with one.  Once the pieces were together, she instructed me on how to use the fabric and left me to it.  After all the running around I'd done (literally and figuratively) I decided to sleep and tackle fabric the next day.

Fabric - holy buckets.  I'd looked at the above hack as well as this one and talked to Pooky Bear.  Ultimately I didn't feel equal to the task of gluing the fabric straight on the boxes.  There was supposed to be a whole thing about folding the edges under and preventing fraying and I just couldn't handle it.  (I'm not really super crafty.)  I decided the best thing to do was cut out poster board the size of the face of the box.  Then I wrapped the fabric around the little poster board, and taped it down with duct tape.  Yes. Duct tape.  I was able to take my time and roll the edges neatly, etc.  Then I glued the poster board and fabric onto the front of the box where it can rest happily.  Once I was sure I'd gotten one right, I started to mass produce the process.  My fabric measurements got a little off by the end.  It's really hard to measure right angles on that stuff.  I was able to compensate and I don't think anyone but me will ever know.  I even had some extra fabric left over to de-ugly the door.  The plan now is to get an extra yard or two of fabric and finish the door.  Apparently pillows are also a possibility.

Extra fabric - put to good use

When I went to dinner, Qat Lady was disappointed to hear I hadn't actually straightened out my closet yet.  I'm putting that project aside 'till next weekend since cutting posterboard, cutting fabric and taping and gluing took up so much of my life today.


Sunday Linkfest

It's been a while since I did a linkfest about what I'm reading.  Most of this week has been catching up on a huge backlog in my RSS feeds.  I mostly ignored the news while I was in Florida.  Here's a few interesting things I caught up on today:
  • Reading The Highland Villager - a summary since The Villager appears to be the only newspaper in the continental US that's not online.  The most helpful part is the discussion of the Ayd Mill Road drama.
  • Singapre in Nokomis - I've been to this restaurant.  Heavy Table is right on about all the food.  The article doesn't really acknowledge the service (or lack there of) for dine-in customers.  Food there takes forever (because the chef is good and makes it from scratch) so I've spent serious time waiting in their dining room.  Add to this, the soda is all in cans so it's not like refills are free.  I know it's little stuff but it makes sitting and waiting not the most pleasant experience.  I love this place but prefer to get carry out when I can.
  • How will the Sequester Impact Minnesota?  I have been living under a rock apparently (maybe just on vacation on not watching the news) because I wasn't even sure what this whole Sequester thing was for a while (still not sure really), but the Post has outlined how I will notice it.  Since Minnesota is 49th in the nation in getting money from the federal government, apparently it won't be as bad here as it will in other places.  Oh joy.  (Note - the Strib says 49th in the country and post says 48th.)
  • Twin Cities are the fastest driving metropolitan area outside of California.  Once I read the methodology, this made since.  I was also unsurprised to see we have a lower than average speed on the expressway.  Because I've been behind all you people at one time or another.
  • The Best Smartphone Camera - I was really interested in the results since I'm loving my new phone's camera.  (It's the highest resolution camera I've ever owned.)  I wasn't surprised that iPhone didn't have the best camera, also not surprised that it was basically a strong contender.  And the flash does really create a mess of a photo.
  • Bonus Link - Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman Episode List.  This is what I watched while working with fabric during my day-long Ikea hacking session.


Weekend Workouts

Sunday I was running on the beach in Miami.  Nice.  Six miles.
Monday I was running in the "cold" in Bonita Springs, one last run before coming home to the real freezing cold.
Tuesday I did a five mile track workout at the gym.  So not the same as the beach.
Wednesday I did a track and elliptical workout at the gym.
Thursday I cried my eyes out.  Serious.  I did my Circuit class and ran my mile and was all set to go down to Zumba when the power went out at the gym.  It was a fairly large portion of the city grid that was impacted and they ultimately closed the gym.  I had been looking forward to Zumba all day!
Friday I did a quick run and then a Finisher that I can still feel today.  I did a series of planks side-middle-other side, squats and triceps, 20 of each, 19 of each, down to 1.  My core thanks me for me time.  Sigh.
Saturday I had a super long workout at the gym.  I ran 4 miles on the track, followed my 4 miles on the elliptical because I can only run in circles for so long and then walked a mile on the track.  Then I went to Zumba!  How I have missed you!  And all I can think is what a difference a week makes.


Android to iPhone - additional thoughts

I wrote about the initial switch from Android to an iPhone (hello, I've missed you so much).  Here's some more thoughts.  FYI - I was running Android 2.2 (Gingerbread, which is quite old) and now running iOS6. 

iOS - let me tell you which contacts to always send straight to voice mail.   Android had a feature that let me send any contact directly to Voice Mail without the phone ringing.  iOS sadly does not.  I mostly used this when places would call me for donations and I wanted to ignore them without having to be rude or say no, but I'm sure we can all think of some other uses for this feature too.

iOS - would a "week view" on the calendar be too much to ask?  The calendar situation is kind of like, "you are known for graphics and elegant design and this is what you came up with?"  Apparently I just needed to turn the phone sideways.  Sigh.

Android - get a feature like 'photo stream'.  I know with Android/Google I could've linked to Picasa pretty easily but my free Picasa account is full from hosting pictures from this blog, so I didn't have the option unless I wanted to fork over more money.  I call shenanigans.

Android - I should really be able to take a screen shot without rooting my phone or paying mega bucks for some special app.  Boo.  Now you know why I have no screen shots for the android features I miss most.

Android - All phones should be able to receive software updates.  I hate that by the time I got rid of this phone, Android 4.2 was released, but my phone was stuck with 2.2 and no hope of ever getting an update.  For Android, it seems to be basically up to the phone manufacturer to roll out firmware updates and OS updates.  I got one update from Android 1.6 to Android 2.2.  After that, it was radio silence.

Android - for the love of all that is holy, figure out how to sync music between my computer and my phone.

I think in general I'm much happier having my phone and my computer have (essentially) the same operating system.  I very much miss my operating system being so well integrated with a web based email/calendar client (Google - sigh). 


It's Vacation - How Do I Keep Exercising?

This post occurred to me as I was writing about my most recent excursion.  I did keep up my running streak of at least a mile every day but there were a couple times I wasn't sure if I would.  I'm generally talking about running, but I do other workouts like Circuit and Zumba and sometimes try to fit those in on the road as well.

The cons of running/working out/exercising on vacation (because there are some)
  • Pack more clothes!  Running requires a whole extra set of clothing, which takes up tons of room in my suitcase.  Even if I wear my running gear more than once (I run alone, it's fine), it's still a consideration and particularly relevant to those of traveling by plane.
  • Pack more shoes!  I thought the running tights and shirts took up room.  I can't even wear these shoes for anything else.
  • Sometimes I just want to wake up and eat cereal with a two year old.  Sometimes I don't want to go for a long run because I don't want to miss things I can only do on vacation like watch Elmo or learn how to work my iPhone from my nephew.


The pros of running/working out/exercising on vacation - are the same as they are at home.  That said, it's vacation.  If you're training for a race, vacation is a great time for an easy week or a step back week.  Have fun.

How'd I do it this time? 
  • Know the schedule.  Some days had nothing planned and I could run whenever and not miss anything.  Other days had stuff planned and I had to make a serious effort to get up early and go.
  • Know the weather.  I'd originally had the seven mile run planned for the day I could only run a mile because of the rain.  It was nice to be able to be flexible.
  • Know the goals of working out for the week - I need to run at least a mile every day, run at least one run of seven miles, and have total mileage around 25 miles, so I was able to stay pretty focused and get my work done.  Other possible goals are to work out a total number of minutes on vacations or burn a certain number of calories (enough to compensate for the five pounds of strawberries I ate perhaps?)
  • Runners - look at a map before you go.  For the love of god, know what's around.  Some places I've been wind up having these fantastic running paths that I'd totally have missed without looking.  Also know if the only option for running is the one sidewalk along the six lane road in the suburbs.  That'll be a low mileage week.  Gmap Pedometer is a great site for checking out roads, running paths and potential routes and mileage ahead of time.
  • Find out what exercise options there are before you go, even if you don't run.  When I go home I know there is running and I usually go to at least one Jazzercise class.  My parents have a basement which is good for circuit workouts, but only one set of dumbells.  When staying at a hotel, they usually describe the type of gym or equipment on their website.
  • Apps are suddenly ten times more relevant. "I want to run a mile" is so much easier with a phone with GPS on it that can tell me how far I've gone.  Also great for checking weather, sunrise times, and taking great pictures.
  • Find something special that makes running more fun.  It's vacation.  Run on the beach.  I did.


The Florida Report

Day 1 - Monday Feb 11
I woke up and ran in Minneapolis.  Yes, the day after a blizzard.  I then celebrated my impending vacation by ripping the door handle off my car door which had frozen shut.  Mother F&*$#r. I flew out of terminal G at the airport, also known as "where they keep the big planes".  To keep me happy, they gave me my own personal iPad while I waited.  I also used the time to call my mechanic about my door handle issue.  In Florida, we hung out in the sun and played with geckos and then took a walk.  Later Aunt Joanie took me to Costco and was all "it's vacation, do you see any snacks or cookies you'd like?" and I was all "can we please get that 5lb container of fresh strawberries?  I promise I will eat every last one of them."  Win.

Day 2 - Tuesday Feb 12 and one of the only days I actually used my alarm clock.  I headed out for a run with a goal of around 4 miles (mission accomplished).  I took at walk with Aunt Joan and Uncle Joe.  Uncle Joe is a bit of a speed walker and I was pooped by the time we were done. Later on some of my favorite family members came over to play.  I entertained my nephews in the pool most of the afternoon.

Day 3 - Wednesday Feb 13 turned out to be the last nice day before it got "colder" and also started to rain some.  I did a five mile run which involved both the old and new parts of the community.  This also happened to be the day I discovered Instagram.  (That's it's own post entirely.) There was much playing around, and more than a little napping.

Day 4 - Thursday Feb 14 (Singles Awareness Day) it really started to get "cold" (meaning I needed sweat pants to sit outside) and it also started to rain.  That turned our activities from lounging to shopping.  I went for a short one mile run followed by walking the dog since I was already wet and gross.

Day 5 - Friday Feb 15. The weather had cooled down enough, and stopped raining long enough that it felt like the day for my "long run".  I had a seven miler on the schedule, so not a super long run, but long enough I wanted breakfast before I headed out.  It was a fairly grey day for a run.  Since it was so dismal out, shopping seemed like the right thing to do for the day so we headed to the outlets.  I got a couple things from the Adidas store and maxed out my credit card at the Nike Store. since we all know how I feel about their clothing.  We took a walk around sunset and I took pictures Aunt Joan bet me wouldn't turn out.  (How little faith we have in Instagram.  Judge for yourself.) We tried to go to an outdoor concert at night but it didn't quite work out.  The guy was a good musician but not much of a performer.  Instead Aunt Joanie and I learned how to use a visa gift card to set up an account for Postagram.  (Reminded me of the printer incident with my mother.)

Sunset over the golf course

Day 6 - Saturday Feb 16.  I got up early for a "quick" run, meaning only 4 miles.  That run was not "quick" in any other sense of the word.  Most of the day was hitching a ride to Miami Beach to play with my other little nephew.  There was a trip to Ikea involving a new bed, then lots of playing and even a walk in the stroller which was our thing from last year.  (No way did he remember it from last year but it was a nice coincidence.)  I had the best ceviche ever for dinner before coming home and having noodles with the little guy.  The highlight of the day had to be when my two-year old nephew showed me how to use Siri to get to the Elmo videos on my iPhone. Serious.

Day 7 - Sunday Feb 17 was perhaps my favorite day.  I woke up and went for a six mile run on the beach.  Yes dude, on the beach.  Even more awesome is the running trail they have that's part of the beach; it's sand but it's super packed and great for running.  We headed out for breakfast and then to see my cousin's studio and move some furniture.  The Ikea escapade from the previous day wasn't quite enough.  We met my Aunt and Uncle (grandparents of the little guy) for lunch.  Max entertained me by learning how to jump off the curb (in a safe place where there were no cars).  I spoke Spanish most of the day with this little one.  I was grateful for all the Spanish I've learned, plus Zumba which taught me to say "up", "down", "one side" and "the other side" from various songs.  It's amazing how relevant those words are with a two year old.

Day 8 - Monday Feb 18.  Saddest day ever.  I went out for one more run.  I thought it was going to be a one-miler since the temperature said 42* and all I had were shorts and a t-shirt, but I was warm enough to do 2 miles.  I even ran my second mile about a minute faster than the first mile.  We went back for a cleanup run at the outlets and I picked up an $80 pair of Nike shorts for $20 and then had Alfredo for lunch.  I cried all the way to the airport because the weather in Minnesota was depressing as hell.  The Ft Meyers airport was not my favorite.  Get some freaking charging stations.  Would you please?  Back in Minnesota one of my neighbors picked me up.  We ran by Target which turned out to be convenient since I had no food in the house.  Then I came home, unpacked, and did all my vacation laundry.  I cried the whole time because I wanted to be back in Florida.