Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I know, I know...

It's been weeks! Long gone are the weeks when I would post 3 maybe 4 times. I'm disappointing my readership (all 3 of you...). I will do better.

Much of the delay has been due to the holidays, where we visited my lovely family in Roscommon. Delightful visit, filled with way WAY too much food (serious, Mom--I need elastic waistbands now), Trivial Pursuit and Monopoly tournaments, The Christmas Story, and so much snow. SO MUCH SNOW! We had a great time.

However, I am surprisingly happy to be home. In fact, my usage of the word "home" to describe our place in Indy is new. Home has always been Roscommon. I guess this means I'm happy here.

I leave you with a picture of our visit. Will update later this week.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Lazy Sunday

I spent most of the day messing around on my computer, making Christmas presents and watching stupid videos. Here we are--prime Sunday house-improvement time--and we did not take advantage of it. I don't feel bad. 

I haven't been posting very much for a couple reasons. One is that I've been crazy busy the last couple weeks, or at least it feels like it. Second is that I feel very boring. Third is that there's a bit of a moratorium on big house projects until after the New Year. Must get through Christmas before starting a new task.

Eric did get some work done up in the attic yesterday. He's such a trooper. You see, if I was assigned this duty, I would probably just not do it. But Eric approached the task of stuffing about 12 bags of loose insulation into the kneewalls of the attic with gusto. Notice the ski goggles... That's dedication, folks. He found a mummified mouse, which he told me to take downstairs. I said no.
 

We spent a good deal of time Furminating and then cuddling with the puppies, who are both getting very excited about visiting Grandma and Grandpa in Michigan next week. We are, too. Eric gets to go back to Boston for a visit next weekend (free plane ticket!) while I get to stay home and work and watch the kids. I may paint our bedroom, too. Eric is obsessed with chocolate brown for our walls, so we'll see how it looks. Might be nice. Might also be  cave-like. That's why I like paint--never permanent. 

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Winter Freakin' Wonderland

So, I'd forgotten that Hoosiers don't know how to drive in the snow. It was an adventure this morning when I was out and about, for sure. 

Today, we did some weatherproofing of the house, and that was pretty much it. Meanwhile, the puppies enjoyed the snow. Look at our handsome boy. 

























Oh yeah, and it's also like a scene from The Birds outside! Every crow in central Indiana has taken up roost in our neighborhood. So weird and kind of scary. 

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanks

You know how when you eat too much, things sort of slow down and you feel like your blood is gravy and your head is full of stuffing? Well, compound that over four days of ridiculous amounts of food, and you've got me and the Big E today. Wearing elastic-waist pants...

We had a marvelous Thanksgiving, in large part due to my delightful parents, who traversed down from the Great White North, and my extended family, who came up from Southern Indiana for Thanksgiving Day and a leftovers party, and our Indy-based relatives, who had us over for delicious snacks and wine (and I regretted driving because I could only have one glass of that delicious wine...).  This is the thing I love the most about Indiana. Yes, I love Indianapolis because it's not Boston, but that's hardly a good reason. I love it here because we're closer to my family, who I haven't seen often enough in years. So, Mom and Dad, THANKS. It's always just wonderful having you here. 

The pups are also exhausted, Pixie in particular, as she had a very eventful weekend playing with her Auntie Madison (my parents' dog, therefore my sister, hence, Pix and Yogi's aunt...). One of the funnier dog-related moments occurred last night. When we returned from our visit, we discovered that Pixie had somehow taken off Madison's neckerchief and had destroyed it. Not just chewed on it like a normal dog, but ripped it into 20 pieces and spread those pieces throughout the living room. She and Yogi have been laying around all day, snoring up a storm. 

Anyway, I thought I'd take a minute to list just a couple of the things I'm thankful for:
  • Eric--Big sweetie. He's my best friend, and I'm lucky to get to live with him. 
  • The Fam--The older I get, the cooler they get. Especially now that we're living closer, I am so grateful for all of the help and support they've given us with the house. 
  • The puppies--Seriously, these little dogs are the light of my life. I don't remember what we did before we got them. They drive me crazy sometimes, but I wouldn't trade them for anything. 
  • The House--The thorn in my side AND the flower in my lapel, this house is testing and rewarding us in ways neither of us anticipated. I love it more every day, even when I hate it. 
We did get some very cool projects done this weekend. Eric and dad spent some time in the backyard putting up the rest of the fence, including a 6-foot gate that locks. I am thrilled with both the way it looks and our enhanced security for the pups. Mom and I went and picked up some picture frames and FINALLY hung some pictures and paintings on the walls. I've been scared to put holes in the walls, given all the time we've spent painting. It's strange how that can make such a difference. It feels homier and more comfortable and more like OUR house than ever before. 

Mom and Dad and Aunt Ro and Uncle Shorty were all VERY impressed with the new exterior of the house, as they haven't been here since we finished it. That is so gratifying, especially when my mom says that she really loves the colors we picked--she has excellent taste, I think. Sometimes I look at it and think it's a bit too green and too yellow, but I've been seeing lately that it's really just a nice looking house, and I'm feeling good about it. 

We got a quote back on our upcoming bathroom project, the building of shower basins for our guest and master showers. Ummm, we will not be going with this particular company, who quoted us at $2,400 for two shower BASINS. No tile, minimal plumbing, no framing. I think that is about double what I was anticipating. We'll likely tackle that project after the New Year. Before then, though, I think we'll be able to do the wainscotting/beadboard in the guest bath, and subsequent painting. Perhaps next weekend. I head out for a whirlwind trip to DC for work next Sunday-Tuesday. I like traveling, but I feel like I've been away a lot in the last month, plus will head to Syracuse for a wedding mid-month. That is a lot of nights away from big sweetie and the pups. 

I have pictures, but lack the initiative to find the camera cord or camera. Will do tomorrow. Happy belated Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Weekend Update

Why the heck am I so tired? It's not like I spent my weekend ripping nails out of trim, or painting, or any of that laborious stuff we used to like doing. Oh yeah, we still DO it, but we don't like it anymore.

Saturday was a whirlwind. I went down to Columbus on Saturday morning to take a look at some furniture my aunt has--I do believe we've scored a china cabinet! It's beautiful. Not really arts & crafts, or even close, but I think we can make some modifications to the hardware and perhaps do some creative trimming, and it'll be perfect. The trip was originally to look at a table, as the table we're using right now is totally the wrong size for the room....

Here's the deal. Our dining room is HUGE. Maybe 16x18, or somewhere close to that. As such, any table that looks like it FITS in that room will, too, have to be huge. Forget the fact that we have no friends and don't entertain... Anyway, so my parents donated their old dining room table to the cause. I remember this table from my childhood, and I remember it being huge. Yeah, it's not. It's a lovely table, though. So, I went down to aunt's house to take a look at the table that used to be in my grandparents' house. I also remembered this table to be much bigger than it actually is. It IS significantly bigger than the one we're using, but again, not in the style of the house. So I think we're just going to pass and then save up for a new or new-to-us table that's the style and size we want.

I went grocery shopping this weekend, for Thanksgiving. I hate grocery shopping even when there's no pressure on. So, Saturday afternoon saw me at the super Target, on the phone with my mom, asking what the HECK is the difference between the 14 different types of roasters on display. One day, when I'm a real grown up, I will do this stuff on my own and will feel totally confident going into the holidays.

My sister said a funny thing the other day, as we were comparing Thanksgiving plans (hers are worse). She said, 'Just make sure you have enough to drink, and that your house is warm.' She remembers well the weekend the fam visited, before the gas and heat was turned on...

Sunday was devoted to cleaning. I finally put away several boxes of stuff that have been sitting in the middle of our bedroom since we moved in. Washed the floors, waxed the floor in the dining room. Engaged in futile battle with dog fur. We went to Lowes last night (I know--we said we werent' going to Lowes anymore, but neither of us felt like driving the extra 20 minutes to the Depot...) to pick up light bulbs, as it appears that all of the bulbs in our house decided to burn out at the same time. Also picked up some Christmas decorations, including twinkle lights and a nice wreath. I got some candle lights for the windows, but got them home and discovered that there is a reason they cost $3.

It is a gloomy gloomy day today, but I'm looking forward to getting to work and getting lots done, as it is a certainty that at least 80% of state government workers will be taking the week off, and therefore not calling me.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

No sleep for you, loser!

I have got to start remembering to take the dogs' collars off before we go to bed. This morning, Yogi woke me up no fewer than 5 times when he moved or scratched or rolled over. And he wouldn't come when I called him. Silly stubborn dog.

So, yes. At a time when I desperately need more than 6 hours, I'm not getting it. Thinking that this weekend may be a lost one, where I watch old episodes of One Tree Hill on the Soap network and don't change out of my jammies until 4:00 in the afternoon. That sounds delightful to me, actually.

The trip deserves a post of its own, and I am waiting for Ashie to send me some pictures and perhaps (GULP!) video of our cross-country adventure.

In house news, basically nothing has changed, but several things have come to my attention that are making me a little anxious.

1) Trim. Eric attempted to put some of the trim back up in the dining room this weekend, and when I called him, he said, "I want to move." Yes, he is a drama-king, but the situation is not ideal. When we had the dining room drywalled, we left our contractor with explicit instructions to build out the drywall so it was level with the old plaster and window casings, simply because we have about a thousand feet of trim to put back up in that room, and making it fit would be a pain in the ass. Well, guess who dropped the ball again. Yes, our ridiculous contractor. How I DESPISE him. Anyway, some of the trim is not fitting, so we're either going to have to get creative and include some new pieces, or we're going to have to scrap the whole project. I vote for the former. Eric, of course, favors the latter. Feh.

2) Electricity. I had the furnace guy out last week after our upstairs furnace stopped working. Normally, I wouldn't care, but the only reason we go upstairs right now (as it is down to studs and rafters) is to take a shower. And it's kind of nice for it not to be 45 degrees when you're taking a shower. So, for $75, he tells me that the furnace is fine, but there's a problem. And that problem may or may not be traceable to our old contractor, though I am of course blaming him because I HATE HIS FACE! Here's the deal. Our upstairs furnace requires 60 amps. The breaker it's hooked to is a 40 amp breaker. No biggie, right? Just change the breaker. Well, yes. The two are hooked up with 30 amp wire, which appears to be snaked through the house with no thought to ease in replacing it. Good lord. Could this get any more ridiculous? My thoughts are no.

3) Security. In our neighborhood, there's a bit of a crime wave happening. We understood this going in--we live downtown, within walking distance from some quite sketchy neighborhoods. However, our street is the safest, it appears, and this is the one time when I don't mind having crazy old lady neighbors, because she's outside all the time, and that is an excellent crime deterrent. We also have a brand new security system with a monitored alarm. I have not yet figured out how to use this. But this is causing a little anxiety on my part, and I am pushing Eric to get the back gate installed so we can have a 100% 6-foot fenced back yard.

We're also looking at some pretty major projects going into this winter. These are not necessarily causing anxiety, just frustration and sometimes despair.
-Bathrooms. Need to get the shower basins installed in both the guest and master baths. We can tile. This has to happen soon. We're also putting up a beadboard wainscotting in the guest bath. This will be relatively easy. And then I will paint the upper wall a beautiful vibrant color.
-Carpet. We were going to wait till we got the ceilings redone to put in new carpet, but I'm not seeing that happening. The carpet we have right now is gross, and is starting to wear on my psyche.
-Attic. Eric, with his infinite enthusiasm for all things man-cave, has destroyed the attic. Serious, we're down to studs and rafters. I believe he's installed the baffles for the vents, but at this point, we have no materials for fixing anything. We're going to do a beadboard ceiling up there, mainly because we hate drywall, and it would be a huge pain to lug all that drywall up 3 flights of stairs. Which we also need to fix... But can't till we get a shower on the second floor.
-Fireplace. I have picked out tile for the fireplace, and now it's just a matter of pricing it out and putting it up. I am very excited about it, as I think it will at least give the impression that one room is at least part way done.
-Paint. I am kind of hating the paint in the kitchen, so I may redo that. I also will paint the guest bedroom.
-Kitchen. This will be the last item on our short list. We've been thinking about it, and it really makes no sense to renovate the kitchen as it's laid out right now. So we're going to move the exterior door into the nook between the kitchen and the dining room, and that will free up SO much space. Eric's been working on a drawing. I'll post it up here when we get closer to K-Day.

In the meantime, we are trying to sock the money away, as well as pay down some credit cards that we opened during our furniture and appliance buying time. I've employed the "one-card-at-a-time" method, where I put everything I can towards the one card with the lowest balance, and then pay minimums on the others. In the last month, I've paid off one full balance, and half of another. My goal is to be 100% credit card free by Christmas of next year.

So, that's my story.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Great White North

No, I'm not in Michigan. I'm in Minnesota. It is freaking freezing here, but I am comfy, sitting at a cozy table at the Renaissance Hotel in Minneapolis, eating a pizza, drinking  a martini, feeling pretty awesome. 

The trip was a success. I will post some pictures soon. It was an adventure of epic proportions. Seriously. Someone should make a movie about us. Two girls, one 16-foot Penske truck, 1000 miles of rain, snow, and an iPod filled with excellent tunes. I'd go see it. 

Friday, November 14, 2008

At the Airport

I'm sitting at gate B10 at the brand new Indianapolis International Airport. It's seriously new--opened on Wednesday. Beautiful. HUGE. I have no idea where I'm going. 

On my way to Boston, starting a whirlwind trip. I'm helping my beloved Ashlee move out of yuck Boston and to awesome Chicago. Tomorrow, we are renting a Penske truck and driving cross country--should get to Chicago on Sunday afternoon. Keep your fingers crossed. From Chicago, I fly out to Minneapolis on Monday morning, where I'm scheduled to give a presentation at a conference. Will be back in Indy on Tuesday. So, let's see. I'll be in at least 7 states in the next 72 hours. Tired already. 

Bringing my camera to document what I'm positive will be a raucous drive.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Lots of pictures

Eric is learning to play the piano. Thus far, he has mastered such songs as "Hamster" and "Rain" on the five-finger C scale. He's considering quitting his job as an architect to focus on his music. 



















Pomegranates are in season, and I am loving it. They are a beautiful, beautiful fruit, and I adore them. 



















Some before and after shots:

This is the back of the house when we first bought it (left) and new and improved (right).






















Front of the house when we bought it (left) and new and improved (left). 





















My delightful and hard-working brother-in-law John, tolerating Eric's anal-retentive fence building directives. 





















The family puppies (Pixie, left; Yogi, middle; and Maddie, right). Yes, Maddie really is that big. She has a Tyrannasaurus Rex head. 




Election Night, or Haley Gets an Ulcer

Things are breaking my way. But the night's not over yet. And until it is, I will remain, hovering over my computer, and feeling my stomach eat away at itself. I don't know why I'm internalizing so much. 

Got up before dawn this morning and headed over to IPS #27 to vote. I've tried to vote several times. The first time, I got to the front of the line and was turned away because I didn't have an Indiana driver's license. So I went to the BMV to get a state-issued ID, was told that having a Michigan license while living in Indiana was illegal, so I took the driver's written test. FAILED. Nice. Went home, studied, took it again the next morning and passed. Next day, walked over to the City-County building mid-morning, and the line stretched out the door and around the block. Um, no. Went up to the northside on Sunday, and the line was at least 3 hours long. So I just figured I'd try my luck on election day. Well, I'm glad I did. It took me 5 minutes, in and out, and I was at work by 7:10. Sweet.

I felt GOOD voting today. This was really the first election where I didn't feel like I was picking Al Gore or John Kerry because they weren't George Bush. I voted FOR Obama. 

Obviously, I'm feeling kind of invested now, hence, the physical manifestations of stress, which really do include stomach aches, thumping heart, and heartburn (which may well be due to the crap I ate today, and not to the election--let's be fair. Pop Tarts and canned soup just aren't balanced). 

Because I don't want to mix business (house) and pleasure (or pain: election), I'm going to follow this up with a picture montage of the last few weeks' work. I think you will all be pleasantly surprised. I know I am--every time I pull up to the house!

Obama 08!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Smashing Pumpkins - Cleveland 11/1/08

Sooo, we took our first weekend trip away from the house and the puppies up to the Smashing Pumpkins 20th Anniversary Tour date in Cleveland. The Pumpkins are one of the formative bands from my youth--Siamese Dream, in my opinion, is one of the best albums to come out of the 90s. However, the Pumpkins have always had their greatest strength and weakness in one man--Billy Corgan. Very very talented, but HUGE ego. All of that was on display last night. 

Venue was awesome--maybe 2000 people, old-school theater. We had fantastic seats, maybe 40 rows back. 
Band came on, and the place went nuts. Billy emerged like this bald specter from the darkness, wearing a leather skirt and red tights. Didn't say anything, and proceeded to place three acoustic songs that nobody knew. And then one plugged-in song that nobody knew. He then said 'hi.' 

All told, they played some of their hits, which were great. They sounded awesome, really. They played Disarm, Mayonnaise, Today, Tonight Tonight... 

But then, for the rest of the concert, it was like some giant self-indulgent practice session, where they played the same riff over and over for like 15 minutes as Billy did a little dance around the stage with a tambourine. I guess I appreciate musical ability enough, and it was pretty cool to see them improvise, but for 15 minutes at a pop? And for 75% of the concert? Ugh. Maybe I'm not cool enough or something, but when we pay for tickets to one of our favorite bands, we want to hear songs! 

Anyway, despite that, it was lovely to get away for a little bit.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tuesday Night

I spent Tuesday Day on the couch, feeling sorry for myself and sick sick sick. Not puking, thank goodness, but achy and scratchy and just blech. So I'm planning an uneventful evening of Nyquil-induced coma. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day. 

House projects are stalled at the moment, as we're not starting anything else till we finish the exterior stuff, and it's been too cold for the workers to finish the exterior stuff. So we've got a 3/4 painted house right now. Yeah, it's looking good... What the heck is going on with it being so cold?? It froze last night. As we just turned the gas and heat on for the first time, we have no idea how much it's costing us, so we're erring on the side of chilly in the house here. Last thing we need right now is a $300 a month bill... 

Discovered today while doing some research on early voting that my state-issued state-employee ID isn't going to cut it for voting purposes, so I'm going to have to schlep down to the BMV AGAIN to get an ID card. I'm still driving with a Michigan license (yes, I know I haven't lived in Michigan in a decade...) because Indiana requires you to take a test for a new license. I need to study. Anyway, I'm glad I discovered this little issue now instead of on November 4, when I would have thrown a conniption fit had I not been allowed to vote. 

This weekend, Eric and I are driving up to Cleveland for a Smashing Pumpkins concert. Should be fun, though Cleveland is not remotely close to us. I suppose it will be nice to get away for a night together, and we do love Smashing Pumpkins. But seriously, Cleveland is like 5 hours away. Have you seen that episode of 30 Rock where Liz and Floyd go to Cleveland and people ask her if she's a model? So funny. 

Basketball on TV tonight. With the Sox being out of the Series, and Tom Brady being injured, I can only hope that the Celts suck this year. It is my goal that Boston sports cease to be compelling to my husband. 

Nyyyyyquilllll, I hear you calling me...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

More pictures

Lazy Saturday. Ugh. I've got a really terrible movie on television, something starring Denzel Washington. I thought for a moment that I really was so out of it that I couldn't understand what he was saying, but it turns out he was just speaking in a made-up language. Feeling much the space cadet today.

Eric and his cousin Matt are up in the man cave, ripping nails and screws out of the ceiling studs. Eric instructed me to put a quote on the blog from Star Wars relating to the construction of the Death Star. The only one I could find was this: 

Luke Skywalker, as he approaches the Death Star: "I have a bad feeling about this."

As far as I'm concerned, this is a perfect quote. 

 

This is the pile of drywall that is going to have to somehow make it down two flights of stairs to the dumpster. I think I will arrange to be gone that day. 


Meanwhile, Pixie is staying comfortable in this chilly weather. 


The new fence looks great. The yard, not so much. That's a next summer project.


The paint is coming along. There's just a little bit to finish, including a little spot by the door that needs the yellow, the back trim, and the ceiling of the front porch, which we were going to do in the same red as the door, but I'm thinking we'll do it instead in the dark green we're using on the window sashes.

 

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

HCC vol... Whatever

Thought I'd post some pictures of the stuff we did while the fam was in town:
New and improved living room and foyer. Yea piano! I played (poorly) for an hour today, and it was lovely. The act of practicing, not the playing itself. It's been about 8 years since I've been around a piano consistently. A LONG time. 
Our new ceiling in the attic. Ugh. The crazy square there is where we removed a skylight. Really, I liked the IDEA of the skylight, but it's south-facing and on hot days, the attic gets SO hot. Of course, vents will help with that, too. 
Our new vanity. I love it. 

Finally, here's the most awesome thing about today. Here's our new house!!!!! Tomorrow, they'll put up the trim color (yellow) and maybe the accent (dark green). How awesome is this going to look?? Fam, I wish you could come again this weekend to see it all done! Abby, look at how good the red door looks!



Happy/Sad

In that I was very happy to have my delightful family in town, and happy that they were willing to get dirty and help us do several gigantic projects. Sad that they had to leave. :( Pixie and Yogi are sad, too. They were a little suspicious of Big Maddie when she first arrived, and didn't quite know what to think of their grandparents and Auntie Abby and Uncle John, but they ended up loving everybody, and they have been wandering around the house looking for everybody. I got them some rawhide bones to take their minds off it.

We did have just a wonderful weekend. Got SO much done. On Saturday, the guys built the remainder of the fence between us and our crazy-lady neighbor, and it's awesome. I feel almost as if she's not even there anymore. Eric talked to her on Saturday morning while dad and I were out buying a fence post digger. He asked her if it would be okay to remove the 50+ year old chain link fence that separated our yards. She said yes. So he took out about 3 of her posts, when she came out yelling at him and asking what he was doing. He put them back in and we just put our fence up right next to the old fence. Now the dogs can roam around the yard on their own. We're all happy about that.

We painted the front door, which turned into a project far exceeding what I had anticipated. Our storm door is likely either original to the house, or at least really really old. For years, then, the former owners had been taking down the window in the summer and putting in a screen. However, the screen didn't have a frame. Instead, they stapled or nailed the screen up every year. There are approximately 225,000 itty bitty nails in that door. We also took out the doorknob, which I may or may not be able to replace. During a recent powerwash, something must've slipped, because it was growing increasingly difficult to open the door. I guess I'll try to put it back in tonight.

The boys ripped the ceiling out of the finished attic. This, I suppose, needed to be done for a couple reasons: 1) the drywall was gross, 2) we needed to install vent stuff up there, and 3) Eric was not going to shut up about it till it happened. I just wish we could've waited on that till we finished up a 2nd floor shower so I didn't have to walk up there when it's all insulation-y. We're going to put some beadboard up there instead of drywall, which will be a much easier solution (one we can do without killing ourselves or lugging about a ton of drywall up 3 flights of stairs). I think that will look nice.

Dad and Eric installed a really cool vanity in the guest bathroom, and it works! So now people can use the bathroom AND wash their hands. Fancy, I know.

Abby is a cleaning machine, so while my mom and Aunt Ro and I were out looking at tile, she scoured the house. It looks awesome. I can't find anything in the kitchen, but I don't mind so much because it looks so nice.

The tile-looking expedition was a load of fun, but totally fried my brain. WAY too many things to think about and decide on. Despite that, I do think I found what I want, which is a just slightly shiny, rustic-looking baked tile. We may do a fancy inset or something. This will be a good fall/winter project for me. Now I just have to find the tile I want cheaper somewhere else.

While we were out for lunch, though, at Maggiano's, I was in the bathroom being totally innocuous, and a huge chunk of a filling fell out. What??! This was the tooth that needed the root canal several months ago, and the same tooth that needed a crown in 2002. So, all told, I've invested probably $3,000 in a single tooth. I just want to rip it out of my head. Stupid tooth.

Dad also did some great work in insulating our windows. We had the weighted windows in the dining room, and since the trim was off, we could see all the way through to the exterior wall, and in some cases, through the wall. So we sealed that up and took out the weights (since we rarely open those windows anyway because they look directly into our neighbor's kitchen...) and stuffed the spaces with insulation. This came at exactly the right time because it's getting cold! We learned this weekend that indeed, we have a gas furnace. So dumb--I've been thinking this whole time that we had electric heat. It was totally fun when I went to turn on the heater and cold air blew out. The gas people are coming this evening to check things out. We will likely just hold out and not actually turn the heat on for quite some time (or until we have visitors and are embarassed that they're cold). Last year in Boston (granted, we were in an itty bitty apartment with upstairs neighbors), we didn't turn the heat on till December. I shudder to think at what it's going to cost to heat that house.... Ugh.

Meanwhile, the house is being caulked and primed and should be ready for real paint quite soon. I can't wait till this is all done. Several times this weekend mom and dad told me not to get frustrated. All I need is for a project to be DONE. We have about 27 projects that are 90% done, and triple that that are just started. We've actually finished next to nothing. I just want to look at something and say, Okay, that's it. I have nothing to add.

We played 3 games of Trivial Pursuit. The boys won first, the girls won the second night, and while I'm sure there are some who will disagree, I say the last game was pretty much a tie.

I was going to post pictures last night, but the camera is out of batteries. Will do that tonight. Mom, Dad, Abs, John--Had a GREAT time. THANK YOU!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

HCC v.3

I got home yesterday and discovered a house that was disgusting beyond my wildest dreams. Powerwashing may be effective, but it makes a wicked mess. It's distressing to me.

Inside, I've made a little progress in sprucing up the upstairs hallway, though we still have no means of painting the stairwell and its 24 foot walls. That may have to be a professional job. I picked a lovely color called Indian White, and I'm pleased. What I'm not pleased about is the state of the walls themselves. Part of me is kind of geeked to have original plaster (once painted hot pink, I discovered last night), and part of me wants to rip it down and start over. I cannot express these feelings to Eric, who would gut the house entirely if he had the option. Seriously, though, there are some pretty major flaws, especially up near the ceiling, and these are not things that are fixable with spackle. The skim-coating we had done on a portion of the wall that was damaged is mediocre at best--a remnant of our crappy contractor that will haunt us forever. Sigh.

Anyway, fam arrives tomorrow, and we're getting very excited, though I feel as though every time I make just a little bit of progress in getting stuff cleaned up, I look around and discover a pile of drywall dust, a tumbleweed of Yogi hair, not to mention multiple piles of trim that need to be put up that are scattered all over the house. So tonight is reserved for putting crap down in the basement. My mom will likely call and say, "Oh, don't worry about anything!," to which I will respond, "This is my equivalent of cleaning before the housekeeper comes." I'm embarrassed, and I want to impress my family with the awesome potential of the house, and I feel as though that might not happen if there is crap everywhere.

I've been thinking a lot of how great it's going to be to have the fam together again--Abby and I both manage to see mom and dad a couple times a year, and to see each other once every 18 months or so, but we're never BOTH in the same place. So this will be a very special visit. I keep imagining how cool it will be to wake up early on Saturday morning, make my coffee and watch The Practice (normal Sat. am routine) with my sister. Then we'll take the pups for a walk. It'll be great.

We're also planning a game of Trivial Pursuit that is shaping up to be quite high-stakes--girls vs. boys. Here's the problem with that set-up, though. The boys can not compete with the girls on topics like literature, and we can't compete with the boys on sports. The best I can hope for is a question about hockey, and my answer will, invariably, be Wayne Gretzky. I figure that there is about a 50% chance that this answer will be right for any hockey-related question.

In other news, we watched the debate last night, and my mind was not changed. In fact, I came away from it even more solid in my conviction that I'm making the right decision. McCain looked angry and shaken and sounded bitter. That doesn't particularly bother me, but when those sort of nonverbal indicators are there, AND you're spouting lies your party has provided you with, it sounds desperate. Obama's no saint, and for quite a while there, I was considering voting for McCain--I find the rhetoric that Obama used to use about "hope" and "dreams" and "fluffy kitty snuggles" to be patronizing and appealing to the lowest common denominator (much in the way I find Sarah Palin's vitriol to be pandering to the LCD of the right wing). But I think Obama has come around and has stopped using that fluff because the times call for real brains, which he's got. I particularly liked McCain's insistence that he wouldn't use a "litmus test" (goodness, it's like we're in a time warp...) for his appointments to the Supreme Court, but that he would never appoint a pro-choice judge. Ummmm, what?

Anyway, there are my musings for the day. I'll try to post more pictures of the squalor we're living in tonight.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Naked House

Here's what I found when I got home from work: messy yard, naked house, and two freaked out dogs.



Crazy next door neighbor shown...
 

That's Yogi's "panic face." It's very slightly different from his "I'm hungry" or "what did you say?" face. 



Anyway, the place is a mess, but I guess they're going to try to start painting tomorrow. There is one good thing--the windows are getting washed. Which is nice. 

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Sleepless in Bloomington

That's me. I dozed off after about an hour of fitful try-sleep, and then woke up a while ago all hot and yuck-mouthed. 

What was the first thing I did? Attempted to drink the "mouthwash" in the hotel bathroom. In fact, this is not mouthwash but turquoise shampoo. Did the fact that the liquid did not pour right out of the bottle tip me off that something was amiss? Of course not. I sucked on the bottle so as to experience the awesomeness of a full mouth of shampoo at 1:30 in the freaking morning. 

I'm feeling brilliant right now. 

Things were pretty kickin' at the house today. Before I left for work about 9:00, they'd already made a huge mess of the front yard. When I return at lunch time to pick up my suitcase and ensure the puppies had not destroyed our new bedroom set, the mess was everywhere. If the house was a head and the lawn was shoulders, our house had a terrible case of shingle-dandruff. 

Totally cool with this. What I'm not cool with is the dudes who are doing the work leaving their half empty Mountain Dew bottles everywhere. Now, as a homeowner, if I want to leave crap all over my front porch for 3 months, that's my prerogative. But you, Mr. Questionably-Motivated-Roofer, you pick up your dang bottles. Grrrrrr. 

Tonight I had dinner with several representatives of Indiana University. I sat next to one gentleman in particular who, about 10 minutes into our conversation inspired me to say, "I LIKE you!" When he asked where I was from, I did the Michigan hand and he said, "So, Grayling." WHAT?! No one knows where Grayling is, especially just from the Michigan hand. Of course I countered with, "Grayling was actually one of the last reported Sasquatch sightings..." Sigh. I ruin conversations a lot with non-sequiturs like that. But they just thought it was funny, or humored me, and we had a lovely chat. What charming, intelligent, thoughtful people. I am so lucky to have the opportunity to meet people like this all over the state. I love Indiana. 

One week from right now, hopefully I'll be sleeping, but under the same roof will be my entire family--all six of us. As my sister and I, up till July, seemed to be making a pretty concerted effort to stay on opposite sides of the country, my whole family hasn't been together since Abby's wedding in August, 2007, where, let's be honest, there were quite a few distractions from family time. I'm very VERY excited for everybody to come and see the house, contribute some slave labor, and have a good time. We're purchasing a new Trivial Pursuit game especially for the visit. Also exciting is the fact that my doggie sister Maddie, whom I've never met, is coming, too. So in addition to having 6 people, we will also have three dogs, weighing a combined 200 pounds, 80 pounds of that being black fur. I furminated Yogi on Wednesday. He's shedding like a madman. I took more hair off of him than I thought possible. Eric got home and said, "Yogi looks thinner." 

Well, not that this hasn't been entertaining as hell, but I suppose I should try to get some sleep, seeing as my meetings start at 7:30 in the morning. It's nights like these that make me glad I have a blog. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

HCC vol. II

It hasn't rained in, oh, 3 weeks. OF COURSE it starts raining the day after they rip our roof off.

In the meantime, the dogs are confused as hell about all the junk in their personal litterbox (our back yard) and have for the last 2 days basically refused to leave the back stoop to pee. Which is lovely. They also don't like to go out in the rain, so we tried to coax them into doing late-night potty on the front porch. So last night, about 10:15 after I'd grown so weary of the debate and said, "Jeez. I know who I'm voting for. I'm not watching this anymore," saw me and Eric in socks on the front porch.

"Pleeeeeeeease, Pixie. I know you have to potty. Please potty for mama."

Dignity? What dignity?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Holy Crap Chronicles, Vol. 1

So, work on the house started today. Even though I knew it was happening, I didn't really expect them to get anything done. Well, they did. Here is our backyard. 


Today, they ripped the first four feet or so off the roof back from the gutter boards. About 75% of that wood was rotted, so they replaced it with new stuff. Tomorrow, we may see the rest of the shingles come off and some more wood replaced. Here's some of the results. Please don't think the crappiness of that little alcove has had any work done--no, that's what that has always looked like...


They also delivered the shingles. Here's what they look like. 

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sunday, Sunday

It's been a pretty nice weekend. Eric's cousin Matt was here and was a good deal of help in getting some stuff done, including the cabinet installation in the half bath (the cabinet has been waiting to be installed since July, and has been sitting in front of the bathroom door for 2 weeks...), the door hanging in the guest bathroom (hooray! Which means the toilet that has been in for a couple weeks is finally usable...), and the front porch cleaned off (finally, we're not the trashiest house on the block). 

Speaking of the trashiest house on the block. For a while I thought it was the old lady across the street's house, the one with the ceramic rabbits and planters made out of tires (painted bright yellow). But I re-evaluated today as I sat outside eating a hot dog in the lovely fall air. It isn't the rabbit house. It's the house across and to the left of ours. This house is a monstrosity, but has a very heavily treed yard, so I haven't noticed it much, despite spending a lot of time on my front porch spying on my neighbors. This afternoon, the owners who I haven't seen but once before and haven't met at all (apparently they're kind of weird according to Doug, our exceptional across-the-street neighbor), were outside. So, interested, I perked up and watched as they proceeded to install an 8-foot silhouette of a witch on a broom, lighted jackolanterns, and other Halloween stuff in their front yard. It's a lot of stuff. A LOT. 

Here's what's weird, though. This house is quite literally FALLING APART. It's been at least 20 years since it's been painted, the windows are cracked, roof's missing shingles, siding missing--the whole shebang. I frankly don't know how these guys actually live there, as it's surely not weather-tight, and looks to be infested. Anyway, here's what's confusing. Why bother with all of the fancy decorations and hanging a festive wreath on your door if your door is falling apart? 

Anyway, I got a lot done today--painted all of the white trim in the master bath and 3rd-floor bath this afternoon, which took like 4 hours but was totally worth it. I think white trim just looks so sharp when it's freshly painted. It also brought to my attention the insane oldness of our windows (single pane--likely original to the house). I imagine at some point in the future we're going to replace them, but it's not going to be this year. So it'll be plastic covers and thermal drapes for us this winter! Whooo. 

Friday, October 3, 2008

I'm Gonna Talk about the Debate, guys

I started a new post about 10 times during that excruciating 90 minutes last night, but each time, got more agitated than I was before and had to close my computer down. Seriously, I had a physical reaction. She talked, I squirmed. She winked, I threw up my hands and asked what the HELL is a Vice Presidential candidate doing winking during a debate on national television?

Here's a disclaimer... I've made it quite obvious that I am not a fan of politicians like Sarah Palin, and her in particular. And I absolutely love LOVE Joe Biden, and I have for a long time. Yes, he's prone to saying stupid stuff, but at least it's honest and earnest, which is more than you can say about 99% of his colleagues. Thus, I was totally pre-disposed to favor Joe over Sarah. But I tried to turn it off and to judge the answers independent of who was delivering them.

And can I just say that whatever "answers" Governor Palin gave were CRAP! She is the queen of wrapping winks and "doggones" and "darn its" and verbal diarheea in such a way that you think you're being handed a beautiful present, but when you open it, it's crap in a box. Nothing of substance, nothing that showed she'd done anything other than memorize sound bites. I was a teacher, high school and college, and do you know what this sounded like to me? Students who hadn't picked up a book all semester and had stayed up late the night before with a highlighter. In my classes, those students got Ds.

They're saying that she did well. She did well because she didn't throw up on stage or say anything completely stupid. Is that really the standard by which we want to measure our country's leadership? They're saying that this debate should assuage some fears that she's not ready to lead. Um, what??! Can you imagine her sitting down with one of our allies, trying to get them to support whatever war it is we're going into next? "Hey, Prime Minister. How ya doin'? I was thinkin' that you all might want to help us out there in Iran 'cause they're not nice over there. And, ya know, they've got a lot of oil there and a nucular weapon." Yes, I spelled nuclear wrong on purpose. Somebody should teach her how to say it right.

This is what I don't understand. The President is the most powerful person in the world, if he or she chooses not to turn him or herself into a blundering asshole a la GW. The most powerful person in the world should be the smartest, most honest, strongest person we can find, and his second in command should be just as smart, just as honest, and just as strong. John McCain is a good man who made some pretty awesome sacrifices, and has been a good representative. But he's chosen someone who can't function if she's not cutting someone down, has little knowledge of anything that matters in the world today, is an anti-feminist, and I'm sorry--she's not qualified.

I have a real issue with the usage of the whole "Joe-Sixpack" term. How incredibly patronizing. Yes, we all realize that there are a lot of folks out there who are average people just trying to get by. Calling them Joe Sixpack makes it sound like she thinks all of these people are just dying to get home to get a beer in their hands. They're SO average. They're SO middle America. Yeah, they're also not qualified to be Vice President. Feh.

The best part of the debate for me was texting back and forth with Ashie, who makes everything fun. Some highlights:

Ash: "I think if Palin was on Perez Hilton she'd have 'simple' written across her forehead."
Me: "I am literally shaking right now. Saying darn it doesn't make you sound Presidential."
Ash: "Does no one know that Alaska really doesn't matter? 'Of this great land' makes me want to braf."
Me: "Well, Joe is from Delaware... 'We've gotta clean up our planet.' God!"
Ash: "We gotta help our environment folks! 'Drill, baby, drill' doesn't sound too gentle to me."
Me: "I hate her."
Ash: "Tanked. Like a college girl. I actually really like Biden. He's kind of a dashing scamp."
Me: "If I wasn't married and was 30 years older..."

Anyway, all of that was probably unnecessary. I just feel upset.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Destruction

Pixie unleashed a torrent of destruction never before seen at #2021. Her victims include:
  • Contents of a purse, including credit card
  • "The Complete Photo Guide to Home Repair" - back cover completely ripped off
  • ESPN Magazine
  • At least 3 pieces of junk mail

We MUST learn to put crap away. Speaking of crap, Pix also had a bit of an accident in the house. And the girl who let the pups out during the day cleaned it up, but then put it right in the garbage can. The kitchen smelled just lovely when I got home 4 hours later.

So, yeah, it's been a nice evening. 

In house news, the big work starts next Monday, which means a couple things: 1) it's going to be insane around here for the next two weeks or so, and 2) we are parting with a great deal of money. I'm a bit of a skinflint anyway, as Eric will attest, but I am having major problems spending money of this magnitude, though I understand fully that we'll get every dollar back in equity, value and prevention of other problems. But yes, fundamentally, I have a real problem with this. Plus, I'm more than a little freaked about the financial situation in general. 

Anyway, here's what we're doing:
  • New Roof: chose "Weathered Wood" color, which is a nice blend of brown, yellow, green. 
  • Gutters: Because we have none.
  • Replacing all rotten siding and trim wood: In general, things are really solid. But the contractor was here the other day and Eric said, "I want you to replace the water board" and the contractor said, "This thing is in perfect shape." And then he tapped it with his hammer and the hammer went right through it. Nice. 
  • Exterior Paint: Field Olive Green, Trim light yellow, and accent/sashes Dark Green.
Tonight, it's debate time. I know that all the pundits are saying that Joe Biden should just stick to facts and debate McCain, not Sarah Palin. But you know what? I hope he just destroys her. I'm all for women in government--hey, I'm one of them--but if you can't string words together to form a complete sentence, maybe you shouldn't be Vice President. No doubt she'll have her answers memorized and will do just fine. And while that happens, I'll be here, pulling my hair out and eating cold PopTarts and despairing.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Puppies.

How cute is this? I can't stand it.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Cue the Choir of Angels

My I present the newest addition to our family. This little guy had a tough life before he came home. Nobody knows how he lived before his new mom and dad adopted him, but judging by the state of the rest of the house, it's safe to say that he wasn't getting a proper diet of Soft Scrub and bleach tablets. 

We haven't used the toilet yet, but for right now, I am happy that it's there. Plus, there's no bathroom door, and no curtain on the window. Lest I give my husband or the neighborhood a show no one wants to see, well, I'll go elsewhere. Door should go up tomorrow. 

Did indeed head over to the Depot this morning. They've been doing a lot of advertising about their new low low prices, and while I can't vouch for the low cost of anything we bought, mainly because we never seem to need anything that's reasonably priced and instead are fully financing the Southport Rd. Home Depot on our own, things do appear to be on sale A LOT. Plus, there were like 50 employees everywhere we looked. At least 5 people asked us if we needed help. And that's 5 more people than asked me at Lowes last time I was there. Plus, the people who did end up helping us at Home Depot did not treat me like a runny-nosed child asking for a blowtorch--heaven forbid a woman ask for grout sealer... Maybe I should just stuff the grout lines full of cookies. Ugh. 

Anyway, we will indeed be patronizing the Depot, and have decided that, at least until Home Depot pisses us off (which it will... we're there far too often for 100% satisfaction), we're not going to Lowes anymore. I feel good about this decision. 

Picked out the paint color of my dreams today. I am SO pleased. This is Koala Bear. Lame name, I know, but I am surely loving it on the walls. I don't know why I didn't pick this out the first time, or the second. 

In other news, I had a great conversation with a dear old friend who lives in Australia, which totally made my night. We used Skype, and I am now a huge HUGE fan. Free video calling. Perfect. 

"It's more like an Egyptian mummy than anything ever seen on this continent"

Fascinating! Eric is watching the Sci-Fi channel, home to some of the best acting and cinematic achievement on television. Good lord, I can feel my brain cells dying by the second. The show is called The Fallen Ones and the description: "An archaeologist finds the remains of a giant warrior."

Do you ever worry about the future of our country?

I guess we're going to the Depot in a while, after Eric finishes his interminably long weekend morning routine, which includes several cups of coffee, bathroom, grooming, bathroom, and picking out which of the 19 pairs of cargo shorts he owns that he will wear. Meanwhile, I've been up since 7:30 because Pixie will not let me sleep past 7:30, have done the dishes, Swiffered, walked the pups, texted Ashie several times after learning about her raucous Friday night, and talked with my sister about how this house is sucking all the fun out of my life, among other things.

Don't get me wrong. I'm happy here. REALLY happy, because, after all, if I wasn't here I'd probably still be in Boston. And Boston made me REALLY unhappy (in general--there were some things that were pretty darn super about it). But perhaps it's a signature of those of us who choose to enter into a relationship with a house, where we give up a lot of the stuff that makes us fun to be around.

For instance, I cannot have a conversation about ANYTHING without it turning to the house. A co-worker comments on the color shirt I'm wearing--I immediately say something like, "Oh, thanks! We're thinking of a shade of this color for the foyer." A friend says, "You were sick last week. Feeling better?" I say, "Much better, thanks, but I think it's the drywall dust that's making my allergies act up, and we've got SO MUCH more drywalling to do. Do you know of a good mask?" Seriously, I used to be interesting. And I used to be smart--not to toot my own horn, but I looked back at some work I did in 2004-05 in grad school, and jeez louise, it was fantastic. So fantastic, in fact, that me in 2008 did not understand what me in 2005 was talking about.

So, anyway, we're off to the Depot. Maybe we'll buy a nail gun so we can put up the million pieces of trim that have been sitting in our dining room since May. Maybe we'll get the mushroom colored paint for the master bathroom that I've been dreaming of but can't match my dreams to reality. Maybe, but probably not, we'll clean up the debris and building materials on our front porch (in our defense, we utilize the house across the street as a litmus test--when she removes the dresser, 14 chairs, ceramic rabbits, and bowling pins from her front porch, we'll know it's time to bite the bullet and clean ours) .

We used to be normal. Really.

EDIT: Apparently, The Fallen Ones were "the offsprings (yes, offSPRINGS) of fallen aliens." Well, that explains everything.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

YES!

We're doing laundry!!!!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Random

Pixie has eaten yet another of Eric's beloved Patriots coasters. This is number 4 of 5. She must be a Colts fan. 

Eric is understandably upset since he feels 1) betrayed by the horrific games the Patriots have had so far, and 2) that somehow he could have affected said games outcomes if only he was there to watch them. So he said to me, "I want you to make sure that she doesn't get my last Pats coaster." And I said, "So put it up somewhere."

"I did."

"Well, Pixie didn't climb up on the mantel and get your coaster."

"It was under the candle, I think."

"Pixie didn't lift up the candle and remove your coaster, either."
___________________________________________________________
Several weeks ago Eric came to me with a very serious look on his face. "Sweetie," he said, "I have a dilemma for you." One, Eric is 99% never serious. Two, he never uses words like dilemma. I was worried.

"So, the Patriots game is not going to be televised on any of our channels. You have two choices. Either we can get DirecTV season ticket, or I can fly back to Boston to go to the game. It's your choice." 
____________________________________________________________
I trimmed out the master bath with primer tonight. Just trimmed. No actual painting. I hate HATE trimming, and I hate priming even more. Together, it is the perfect storm of Haley misery. Then I went to the upstairs bathroom and put primer over the gray smudges of paint I left on the ceiling up there. What I don't understand is how I broke a sweat doing this. I like to think it's because it's about 20 degrees hotter closer to the ceiling. What I really think is that I'm becoming very Hoosier-esque in my proportions. Must exercise. 

Meanwhile, Eric is eating ice cream with smushed up Oreos in it. And I'm considering some candy. 

What?? 

Monday, September 22, 2008

Ahhhh....

I decided that tonight, and only tonight, I would do absolutely nothing house related. It has been nothing short of freaking MAGICAL. It would be even more magical if I had a toilet close to my bedroom, but that is my lot in life. 

I've been hanging out all night reading, eating lots of different things, and making howling noises to annoy the dogs. 

The night off is necessary. I'm crazy CRAZY tired tonight, and I'm feeling old and decrepit and like my body is turning on me. My hands are aching and cut up and my knees hurt and my ass hurts, and good lord, as I was stretching this morning at work (what? I sit at a desk all day--I get stiff), my shoulder fell out of its socket. Old yoga injury. And it took me 30 seconds to pop it back it, and all the while I'm growing more and more panicked that my fingers are starting to tingle and pain's shooting through my elbow. And then it popped back in and I'm fine, but it's sore as hell and I have no strength in my right arm. 

So, yeah. Awesome day. I'm going to bed. 

Sunday, September 21, 2008

RE: TWIWEH v. 2.0

I spent several hours grouting this afternoon, and I discovered that it's pretty much the only part of tiling that I like to do. There are nice neat seams to fill in and I can tell where I'm messing up--pretty much my idea of a good time these days. 

 
While I waited the two hours for the grout to harden entirely, so I could get down on all fours and polish it like a crazy woman, I used my new Swiffer Wet Jet. Now, I'm a big fan of the original Swiffer, and use it all the time. But I may have found my new favorite tool, after nippers and a grout float. The Wet Jet is freaking awesome. Our floors are super clean. I'm happy. 

Anyway, I did get down on all fours and polish. Here's what it looks like now. In three days, we'll vacuum and make sure every last bit of dust is up, and then we'll seal. And maybe then I can do laundry.

 

Earlier today, while Eric and his cousin were watching the game, I went on a quest for bathroom mirrors. Stopped at Home Goods, which I hated because I was just looking for one thing, though had I been just browsing, perhaps looking for a kitty cat sweatshirt or cornucopia or something to put on my front porch, I would have been in business. As it was, they had about 300 mirrors, none of which appealed to my aesthetics, which were: wood, rectangle, no engraved flowers, designs, words like "live, love, learn" or something like that. I found nothing. 

Then I stopped at Kohls, and was sorely disappointed. I was tempted to buy some candles, but figured that I should stick to my guns. 

At this point, I really had to go to the bathroom, so I decided to head back home, mirrorless. But as I was driving past Target, I decided just to hold it and went inside and found two mirrors for the half bath and the 3rd floor bath. Sweet. I also found some garbage bags and some band-aids, which would have come in really handy yesterday as I was dripping blood all over the tiles from tiny ceramic-caused cuts on my hands. No bandaids. I used toilet paper wrapped in painter's tape around my fingers. And I sort of congratulated myself on my ingenuity. I may or may not have infected fingers right now.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Re: The Worst Idea We Ever Had

We're half done with it. Just need to grout and seal tomorrow. 

 

Seriously, for such a small project, this sure took a hella long time. We messed around getting the floor perfectly level, which was a plus. Then we took all afternoon getting the tile laid out appropriately, and where necessary, cutting said tile. 

THEN we put it down. And, of course, within 10 minutes, our measurements were off or we changed something, and all the cut tile was immediately useless. Because these were such little pieces, we could use the nippers. This was great, because we didn't have to rent a saw. But my hands are like claws and are ripped to shreds. I was NOT master of my domain today. At least in the world of tile.

The good news is that we started getting the hang of it about a half hour before we finished, so I think the next tiling project, which will likely be the shower and walls of this bathroom, will go better. But we are waiting for at least a week before we start on it. I am too damn tired. 

Decided after we finished and got cleaned up (seriously, I've never been that dirty in my entire life) that it was Miller Time. Actually, it was Smirnoff Wild Grape malt beverage time for me, and orange vodka and tonic time for Eric. We very rarely drink, but tonight, it's 9:30, we're half in the can and it feels pretty good. 

We have to wait 24 hours for the thinset to cure, so we'll start grouting tomorrow about 4:00 or so. This is great, because I won't feel obligated to spend my entire Sunday messing with the floor. So I think I'm going to go bargain hunting and buy some mirrors. Yes, after the incident last weekend where I broke the mirror we were using in the master bath, we have exactly ONE mirror in the 3.5 bathrooms in this house. And it's not even a good one. 

The good news here is that I've become far less concerned with how I look before I go out. Case in point, last night, when I went to Lowes and Home Depot in dirty running pants and a paint-stained t-shirt. It helps that I don't have to walk past restaurants full of aviator-sunglasses-and-$250-jeans-wearing-Eurotrash to get places here, like I did in Boston. Scuzi... Bleh. If you ever go to Boston, go to the corner of Fairfield and Newbury and just watch. It's ridiculous. 

Anyway, I'm going to go have some special private time with my drink. Have a great night. 

Leaves. Everywhere.

Here's what I raked up from just our front yard this morning:

  

Want to know the funny thing? We're the only yard with any leaves on our street. And WE DON'T HAVE ANY TREES on our property. 

Friday, September 19, 2008

Are You Intimidated?

I sure am. I can only hope that a thug with intentions of burgling our house feels the same. 

I'm sure many communities are going through the same thing. Indy has had an uptick in crime, particularly in some of the less-transitioned portions of our neighborhood. I haven't heard of anybody on our street getting hit, but there have been a couple break-ins, particularly in garages, just a couple blocks south and west of us. 

Well, the good news is that we don't have a garage. So we've got that going for us. Actually, we don't have very much of value either, other than a couple laptops and a small television. Regardless, we bit the bullet and found a reputable company that could give us wireless security and monitoring. So, we're guarded. 

But I sure hate that sign. Definitely does not contribute to the whole "look" we're cultivating here. Of course, neither do the sawhorses and empty bags of concrete we've had sitting on the front porch for a month... We're really bordering on trash right now. 

In bathroom news, the cement is 100% down. Now I can only hope that it works well enough as a leveler that we can tile. 

I searched all over creation for this stuff. Stopped at Lowes--was once again treated poorly by an idiot who tried to convince me to pay $30 for a bucket with 20 pounds of the leveler in it (and I needed 50 pounds...). I said, "No, don't you have the powder, because it's about $30 for 50 pounds and it's what we've already used." He said, "No, this stuff is better." Ummm, no it's not. Not only would I pay more for half the product, it requires primer, and I'm not going to voluntarily sign myself up for 1) painting a floor, and 2) waiting till tomorrow morning to pour the cement. We're TILING tomorrow. And that's all there is to it. 

Anyway, I told the guy I wasn't interested in the bucket stuff, and he said, "Well, I bet Menards or Home Depot has that." And I said, "Great. I'll go there. Where's the closest Menards and Home Depot?" Gauche, I know. But seriously, he brought it up. And he said, "I wouldn't know--I don't go there." And then he smirked at me. And I said, "You've been extremely helpful. Thanks." Once again, LOWES IS STUPID. I hope he felt my sarcasm cut to the core of his being. 

Because I only know where the Home Depots are on the south side and the north side, and there may actually not be one in the center of town, which was where I was, I went north. It was a long drive. But I did get a Swiffer Wet-Jet that I CAN'T WAIT to use. I'm picking up enough dog hair to make sweaters with the regular Swiffer. A wet one will be even more awesome. That's right, you heard me. Everybody's getting a Yogi sweater for Christmas. 

So, we'll see. I'll keep you posted on what will henceforth be known as Bathroom Tile: THE WORST IDEA WE'VE EVER HAD. 

It's time for puppy snuggles and bedtime. I am worn physically and emotionally. 

Thursday, September 18, 2008

One Unrepentant Little Dog...

And her name is Pixie.

This is what I found when I got home from work yesterday.


Does that face look sorry to you?? I didn't think so either. That was the latest issue of Workbench Magazine (because we don't read normal things like Newsweek and The Economist anymore...). It had an article in there about painting over rust. She has a handy knack for eating only the articles and coupons I plan on reading/using.

Anyway, I "finished" my office. I say that semi- jokingly because I still have to do another coat of paint on the trim, and thus, should not have put the furniture back in place. But I can't stand the mess anymore. I LOVE the blue that I ended up putting on the walls--this is Sherwin Williams Bunglehouse Blue. It's pretty dramatic, I know, but it's a small room. Feeling now like I want to paint everything Bunglehouse Blue. Discovered the other day that the joy I derive from painting increases the darker color I use. Perhaps it is the relative ease of coverage? Being able to see streaks instead of discovering them once you put all your materials away? Solid evidence that you're making progress?? I don't know about any of that, but I do know it's damn satisfying to paint a wall navy blue.

What is not satisfying is the fact that it's been two weeks since I've done laundry, and at this point, I am no closer to having a completed guest bath/laundry room. Maybe we'll be done so I can do laundry on Sunday night. Or maybe I will suck it up and go to the laundromat. I used to like going to the laundromat when I lived in Syracuse. Pretty much because it was 2 hours spent someplace warm where I could study in peace and walk down to the Bruegger's Bagels for breakfast, because I was there anyway. Sigh. Those were the days--before I had to work and renovate a house...

Anyway, here's our latest progress on the bathroom. We'll run up to Lowe's tomorrow and get another bag of self-leveling cement. Once that cures by Saturday morning, I think we'll be able to get the tiles down. And then grout. And then sealing it up... Yeah, we're not doing laundry this weekend.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Genius!!!

You thought I was joking about spilling candle wax all over the carpet the other day, didn't you? Oh no, I wasn't. It was one in a series of unfortunate spills, trips, drops, shatters, etc. Eric, Mr. Doom and Gloom, said that it was ruined. I said, of course it's not. But secretly, on the inside, I was fretting and thought that there was probably a 90% chance that would I spent hours on my hands and knees picking at the wax, and ultimately still end up with a rug with wax on it.

BUT! Did you know that there's a trick to getting wax out of carpet?
-Put an old towel down over the wax.
-Put your iron on steam
-Run iron over towel

Seriously, the wax comes right up on the towel. It's amazing and fantastic, and I can't wait till Eric gets home so I can prance around and show him the waxless carpet.

What makes this even more amazing is that I dropped the iron the other day, too, and a good hunk of it fell off. I was worried that it might not work, or worse, that it might electrocute me. Being very brave/stupid, I plugged it in anyway, and all is well. Luck is on my side.

Another trick?
-When your dog is extra smelly, and you don't have time/money for a bath/groom, spray him or her with Febreeze.

I sprayed both of mine this evening, and while I'm sure there's some rule against it somewhere, they are MUCH more pleasant to cuddle.

Hooray!!!

Power is back on.

Last night, I went to Target to pick up a battery-powered lantern, and I ran into another weary looking Hoosier in the camping section. "Your power's out too?" I asked. She said, "Yes. And I heard it's going to be till Saturday till it comes back."

At this point, I believe I gasped, and then maybe threw up. Because GOOD LORD, I live in a modern city for a reason. If I wanted to be without power, well, I'd live somewhere else. Anyway, I kept my fingers crossed that maybe the power would be on when I got home, making my purchase of a lantern unnecessary, but desireable, given my fear of a bird flu epidemic, zombie invasion, etc. etc. (quite honestly, if I gave in to all my irrational fears, my home would be covered in plastic and duct tape and I would wear a gas mask every day. Seriously.)

Power wasn't on when I returned, so we lit some candles and put a new Irish music cd that a co-worker burned for me on Eric's computer, and sat there in the semi-dark, listening to fiddles and watching Pixie and Yogi play. It was actually kind of an idyllic night.

We went to bed around 8:30. I planned on driving to work in my pajamas and just showering and getting ready here at the office gym. But that became unnecessary as the power came on at 4:40 this morning! Wonderful. I love electricity.

Monday, September 15, 2008

In the Dark

Yes, literally in the dark. I showered (cold... COLD...) by flashlight this morning, put makeup on (poorly) by flashlight, dressed by flashlight. This really really stinks. I suppose I can be grateful for two things: that it's not 95 degrees outside, and that we have city water that is not affected by electricity.

Yesterday, the remnants of Hurricane Ike came through Indy, and it got pretty wild. No rain to speak of, but windy. I was up on a ladder trimming out my office (decided I hate the green, more on that later), and heard a couple zaps, then saw a white light, and then the power went out. It's localized at my neighbor's house--there' s a line down in his yard. Of course, I don't even think he knows about it because he's never home. But I called to report the outage several times yesterday, so I'm hoping that IPL gets its collective butt in gear and gets it fixed.

Have also discovered one more thing that spooks our big fraidy cat, Yogi. Just add it to the list:
  • Motorcycles
  • Sirens
  • Car doors slamming
  • FLASHLIGHTS
In other news, before the lights went out, we did get a little bit done. Eric finished putting the backer board on the bathroom floor, and then we poured the self-leveling cement. It was supposed to cover 50 sq feet, but covered more like 30. So, back to Lowes... Sigh. We're not terribly closer than we were last week to my dream of a toilet on the second floor.

I painted the bathroom. I used the blue paint we put up in the bedroom on the main wall, and then did the rest in a tan color that matches the shades we put up in there. And I HATE IT. The color is far too close to the original baby poop brown that I was so crazy about covering up. Plus, there is nothing even remotely dramatic or even attractive about this color combination. What was I thinking??? I guess I do want to keep that blue wall up, but at this point, I'm totally open for suggestions. We kind of want to match the slate floor, I suppose, even though I hate that too and have big plans for ripping it up just as soon as possible. The good news is that the slate floor has pretty much every color imaginable. Except, you know, pretty ones.

And, as I mentioned before, I decided that I didn't like the green that I put up in my office (which was left over from the downstairs bathroom). So, when I was at the Sherwin Williams store the other day, I picked out Bunglehouse Blue. And even though I've only gotten the trimming out done, I think I'm really going to like it. Actually, I'd better like it. Because I've already spent too much time on a room that nobody even goes in (me included).

Eric spent a good deal of yesterday criticizing me. In some instances, it was called for, like when I dropped a mirror on the bathroom floor, shattering it into a thousand pieces (and no electricity to run a vacuum to pick up said pieces) and when I accidentally spilled hot candle wax on the living room rug.

*Seriously, this has got to be a hormonal thing, because about 20 days out of the month, I'm totally on my game. And the other 10 days, I'm a freaking SPAZ.

But in other instances, it just highlights to me how differently our brains work. In case you're just joining us, or have no first hand knowledge of me and the Big E, he is an architect and is thus totally anal-retentive, detail oriented, perfection-inclined. I am the opposite of that, and I also want/have to be the boss of everything. Lethal combination--it's like bleach and ammonia.

I view the first coat of paint as just that--the first coat. Thus, I give no shits as to how it looks or how even the coat is, given that I am just going to cover it up with another coat. Eric, however, goes nuts when he sees things like this. And says things like, "You're a terrible painter." And then I say things like, "Yes, I may be a terrible painter, but if I wasn't painting, you'd still be looking at baby poop brown walls because it takes you 3 weeks to do a 3 hour job." And so on and so forth... Anyway, we talked about this last night before we went to sleep, and basically determined that we're perfect for each other. Because even though we drive each other crazy on pretty much all home-improvement related topics, together, it's like we make one regular-person brain.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Pray for me...

This is what Eric is doing right now:

This used to be our bathroom subfloor. 

I'm nervous. 

Friday, September 12, 2008

Holy crap

This was in my house!

Pixie, who enjoys chasing unsavory creatures like cicadas and moths (which I hate even more than cicadas, if that's possible), chased this in the house. I freaked, and Eric came running into the kitchen, thinking something was very wrong. I was cowering in the corner, uttering little shrieks, unsure as to what I was going to do if it landed on me. 

Then it left the kitchen, and I envisioned a sleepless night--because there's no way I'm sleeping when that might be in my bed. 

We discovered it sitting on a plastic bag in the butler's pantry. Eric, my big strong husband, smashed it into a hundred pieces with a broom. 

Crisis averted. 


Also, this little fella was hanging out right below our mailbox all afternoon. Mantises are probably my favorite insect, mainly because of Zorak.


 Having never encountered one in real life, though, I kept my distance and used the zoom. We also have a gigantic spider who lives in our window frame (outside). One got inside yesterday. Because they're beneficial insects, I tried to brush it outside, whilst attempting not to touch it or anger it. It went the wrong way, and Eric stepped on him. RIP spider. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

So...

It's been a couple days. We've been too tired to do anything, so there's not much to blog about.

Tonight, though, I felt the first little inklings of fall seeping into my skin, as I walked the pups and smelled some leaves burning and felt a little chill in the air. And I love it. Fall reminds me of when I was in high school, playing (poorly) on the golf team. We'd finish up with our 9 holes, in the dark, invariably, and then go into the clubhouse and eat sloppy joes or chili or some other wonderful fall-ish food. Sigh... Youth.

Anyway, I lingered outside, and the pups totally enjoyed that. We also played some frisbee in the back. Pixie is getting better with catching the frisbee in the air. She's done it 3 times, probably out of more than 100 throws. We'll have to work on that.

I'm just waiting for Eric to get home. Dinner's ready and I'm really hungry, but feel like I should wait. I hate waiting.

In the meantime, I sanded and painted the backdoor. Looks good. I used a glossy white. It was a dull white, with a huge crack in it. I filled that up with a crack filler, and while it's not totally smooth, it's looking better.

And as I was painting, I kept thinking about the same thing that's been on my mind for the last 2 weeks. Sarah Palin. Seriously. Are we REALLY thinking this woman is remotely qualified to be Vice President? Under a 72 year old President??? Can a woman who is anti-choice but pro-death penalty, abstinence-teaching with a pregnant daughter, book banning, small town mayor really be the best that the GOP could come up with? Do we really want a hockey-mom representing our country to the rest of the world? As a woman, and you know that the only reason she was chosen was because she was a woman, I am insulted. Instead of being a giant step forward, we'd be taking a huge step back. I'm terrified. This is worse than 2004. And so much more at stake...

I hate to alienate any of my blog readership, but I just have to say this. Vote with your head this year. We can talk so much about how we want the President to be a guy we can sit and have a beer with, and how Sarah Palin is an attractive, ambitious woman. But what we really need is a leader who will focus on the things that MATTER--not the things that happen in someone's personal bedroom, and not the things that happen to someone's body.

Ugh. Plea done. Back to houseblogging...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Perfect Day....

And I spent it inside.

I've had it in my head that I was going to paint the master bedroom on Saturday since LAST Saturday, so despite the fact that it's about 72 and sunny and I have innumerable outside tasks that could have been completed comfortably, I painted the bedroom. It looks awesome, actually. Before now, I never really believed the claims that Sherwin Williams and other more expensive paint was REALLY better than the stuff you get at the Depot. I'm a believer now, for sure. I put two coats up and there is not a single streak or flaw in it. Except where there's a flaw in the plaster, and there are many, but that is what you get with ancient plaster walls.

Start:



















Yogi helping.















Pixie helping















Finished product. I'll put up another picture once I get the tape pulled, furniture replaced, curtains up, etc. etc. etc.















So, Eric is at the Reds game with his cousin and will be gone all night. I'm debating whether to get stuff done around here, or to go grocery shopping. Neither are terribly attractive options to me right now, as the stuff I need to get done around here deals with trim (and after last weekend, I am not cool with trim) and I hate the grocery store. But perhaps I will go to the Super Target to get the groceries. I like Target. Oooooh, that's a good idea!

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Contractor is GONE

Whoopeeee!!!!

Seriously, never thought we were going to get rid of this guy. This being our first real venture into home improvement and all the joys/pains/frustrations that come with it, we were thrilled to be hooked up with a friend of our realtor (who is a super cool, VERY professional guy). We figured, if the realtor liked him, we'd like him. And initially, we did. He came in way under bid, was semi-attentive, really liked Eric (didn't listen to a word I said, but recognized that I held the checkbook, and thus, deserved respect and corresponding lack of face-to-face time that would make me realize he's an idiot), and we felt okay leaving the house with him while we were still making our transition from Boston.

The trouble started when we walked in the door in mid-July, after driving for 10 hours straight. This was when we found the drywall and plaster all over the floor, saw the ceiling had been sponged exactly the opposite of what we had requested, that the window was a piece of plywood, and innumerable other things. We only asked him for two things: that he provide us with the programmable thermostats he made a big deal about getting for us cheap, and that he replace the window that one of the doofus workers broke.

Yesterday, i get a call about 1:30. He's on his way over to get the window (which he'd replaced with the original broken glass). Was I home? Of course not. Because I have a JOB. He acts all disappointed that I wasn't there and that he'd have to waste a couple hours. I'm thinking, "you've wasted 7 weeks on this job... a couple hours won't matter." Anyway, I say, because you have to get the glass to the shop by 5:00, I'll come home by 4:15. So I left work an hour early (didn't matter because I went in before 7:30 anyway... But that's not the point). So, when does he show up? 5:30. By this point, I'm livid. But because I'm not into getting into fights with people, and instead prefer to be chilly and aloof with them, I give him short answers, lock the door behind him, etc. etc.

The thermostats are also incredibly obviously non-programmable, and in fact, say "non-programmable" on the package. I told him this, and he argued with me, until I showed him the box.

He shows up today, and it takes about 5 minutes for him to finish the job, at which point we settle up. We've been holding on to a rather large check for him for quite a while, until he finished the job.

So, my plan was to cut the money we'd already given him for the thermostats (which he did not itemize on the invoice) and to deduct an hour of my pay for the hour he made me miss yesterday. The first was totally fine, the second, ummmm, not so much. He got really pissy about it and I demurred. Of course I did. I'm such a wimp. But I'm feeling all feisty and thinking of cool snappy remarks that I could have made... Dammit. I'm so Costanza right now.

In other news, it's my birthday. I turn the big 3-0. It's strange. I'm only 18, right?