Sunday, August 31, 2008

Another Day, Another House Color

We've decided that the Dormer Brown lacks "depth." It really does--it's the color of cardboard. So we went back to the drawing board, aka the book Bungalow Colors, and found a color scheme that we both like, is historically accurate, and does not look like we're copying our neighbor.
Here are all the colors we've been through today:
The cream stripes are the trim color, and the dark green stripes are the accent. The big decision was between, from left, Dormer Brown, Golden Inflection, Mark Twain House, and Dry Earth. As of today, at 8:48 pm, we're going with the Mark Twain House--the dark olive color second from the right. I'm actually very very excited about this. One, I haven't seen a house this color on our block. Two, it's nice to have some idea of what we're looking forward to. And three, we agree, which is unusual on this subject.

I painted these stripes directly on the house. It was the most fun I've had in a week.

We headed up to Home Depot this morning, after a stop at Lowes (to pick up stuff with a rebate card), Menards (which I liked, and will visit again, but they had a totally crappy tile selection), to Pottery Barn (not open. Thanks for the gift card, Abs!), Bed Bath and Beyond (to order some more panels for the living room), Arbys (because I was starving and getting grumpy) and to Home Depot. Where we met Shawn and Billy, and they were delightful. Knowledgeable, helpful, just wonderful. We didn't actually get TILE because they only had 2 sheets of the stuff we wanted. But we found it at the store up in Noblesville, so we'll head up there tomorrow and pick it up. Sweet.

We went to the RibFest down in Military Park this afternoon, which was a gastrointestinal and cultural adventure, for sure.

Eric just took down the painters tape from the living room trim. I anticipate we'll put the furniture back in place in, ohhh, a week.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Lowes is Stupid

Our big plan this weekend was to at least get started on the tile floor for the guest bath, with the ultimate goal of getting a working toilet on the second floor. We figured that we would get some stuff done early today, and then head to Lowes to pick up all the fixins for the floor, tile included.
1) The tile that we'd picked out, a relatively simple (but chic) hexagonal black and white mosaic, was on display, and priced, but was not available for purchase. According to the salesman, Doug, the display case was for "inspiration" not purchase. Why it had a price tag on it if it wasn't for sale is a mystery.
2) We told Doug, "Okay, but we're still going to put in a tile floor, even if we get the tile somewhere else." He tells us that if we're going to be putting up tile for the first time, we should have somebody do it for us and we should watch. And then proceeded to offer his services at a rate of both $10/sq. foot and $5.50/sq. foot. How about $0/sq. foot???
3) I told Doug that we were going to do it ourselves, that we're in this for a learning experience, etc. and that we would just like him to tell us what we need, including thin set, sponges, grout, trowel, etc. He balks and says we'd be better off having someone do it for us (again) because we're just going to spend a couple hundred dollars on tools. I saw a trowel right there for $8. What costs $192???
4) Finally, I told Doug that I just wanted to leave. He got the message and left us alone. And we left. We left our cart in the middle of the aisle and walked out.

And then we went to Fazolis. And it was delicious.

But the disappointment and pissed-off-ness lingers. I do truly respect the abilities of craftsmen, and realize that there are indeed tile jobs that beginners could not and should not do. However, installing 60 square feet of pre-cut tile on a flat floor without any cut-outs seems to me to be a very good place for a beginner to start. And while I'm positive I have an inflated opinion of my own intelligence, I'm pretty darn sure I could figure out how to tile! And I'm married to a damn architect. If he can design a house that doesn't fall down, I'm 100% confident in his abilities to stick a piece of ceramic to the floor. Ugh.

In other news, we were indeed busy today. Got up and went to the dogpark. When I got back, I raked the yard (2 lawn bags full of leaves!!!! Good lord, what are we going to do in October?? But it looks SO much better), de-nailed and polished another 25 pieces of trim, and then we did something very exciting. We went over to Sherwin Williams and got some exterior paint samples! Whoot! And in a very strange turn of events, I think we're going back to the green and brown. Here's the scheme:

These colors are "Bronze Green" and "Dormer Brown." We also picked a couple other shades, including the gray-blue, a light gray, and the famed Bunglehouse. The gray-blue is very nice, the light gray, too. The Bunglehouse is perfect but, alas, is also the same exact color of our neighbor's house. So that's out.

Here's the plan. We're going to use the green as the main color on the first two floors, the brown as the trim color, and a nice cream as the accent (window sashes). Then on the third floor dormer, we'll reverse the scheme and use the brown as the main and the green as trim.

Red door, of course. We picked up that paint today, along with a very pretty light blue for our bedroom.

This is all very surprising, because I thought truly that I was wed to the blue. We are having a bit of discord around the accent color. I really REALLY want something light, particularly as that color will be used on the sashes and the front porch. The traditionalist in me wants a bright white porch. But I'm flexible. I just don't want a red porch or something like that. Eric is a bit more adventurous than me around this stuff. I just already feel like we'd be doing something dramatic if we do the green for the field color. We don't need red window sashes.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I Am the Lone Mantis of the Apocolypse...

Space Ghost? Anyone?

We're in the midst of a Cicada breeding festival. Brood XIV, of the 17-year variety. And boy, are they making a racket! I remember sitting on my aunt's porch a long time ago, at the height of my obsession with Space Ghost, and asking her what that sound was. She said "Locusts." And I said, "Like the Lone Locust of the Apocolypse"? And she said, "No, Haley. Not the apocolypse."

See below:

I share this because I went out to do some painting this evening and these cicadas are so creepy. They're leaving their shells all over my fence. I'm not scared of bugs or anything, but coming across a crazy-looking huge thing that looks like a bug hanging out on your fence while you're painting is just a bit off-putting. Invariably, these things are just shells. But what if, when I go to brush it away, it flies up into my face? Apparently, they both bite and pee. And they have red eyes. Freaky.

Anyway, I stayed outside in spite of the noise and the exoskeletons, mainly because I had my Pod on and was listening to some good tunes (see the sidebar for a new feature...), and because I was almost done with a can of paint and didn't feel like sealing it back up. I failed in using it all because it got dark. At this point, I do believe it's mainly the paint that is holding the fence together.

Looking forward to the long weekend, when we will hopefully have time to really get some work done. Tops on my list is the trim. And the yard! Holy cow, it's strange, but we are losing some serious leaves. I wasn't expecting to have to rake in August. Tonight I swept the stairs and the sidewalk in front of the house. But it doesn't look any better because I just swept the leaves into the grass on the other side of the sidewalk. Trash... I'm ashamed of myself.

We're thinking about getting a composting barrel this weekend. Though I suppose that would make more sense if we had a garden. And if we didn't have two dogs who insist upon eating everything that's not nailed down. So far, Pixie has destroyed about 8 rawhide bones, a coaster, a coupon for Lowes (the one coupon I'd actually use... She plucked it out of a pile), and her stuffed monkey.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Rethinking the Whole "Bunglehouse" Thing

Well, we're re-evaluating our decision to go with the brown and green for the house colors. I told my mom this tonight, and I don't think I realized just how ANTI the brown I've become until I said "I just don't want a big poop-colored house."

So, the brown's out. What I'm thinking now is either blue-grey, much like the house I grew up in, or perhaps a lighter grey. Both with white and black trim. And of these two, I'm leaning towards the blue, mainly because it will show less dirt. Here's what Sherwin-Williams has to say (and if you haven't tried SW's interactive tools, check it out: (

I'm into it. Except we don't have shutters, and that may be what I like best about this scenario.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Much Accomplished...

This is not a George-Bush-in-a-jumpsuit moment, but I will say tentatively that we made some EXCELLENT progress today. 

This morning, we got up early and I took Yogi up to Petsmart groomers to get a haircut. He looks GREAT! And he was such a champ when they were cutting his hair--did not wig out in the slightest till he got a blow dry. He's feeling very confident and pretty tonight, and is thus being a little bit insufferable with the pets and belly scratches. Ah well. I don't mind so much now that he doesn't stink!

Yogi's  time at the salon gave me time to go to the grocery store. We had a meal with vegetables in it tonight, so I count that portion of my day a success. 

We discovered the source of the mystery smell. It was,
 indeed, the disgusting carpet in the back stairs. So Eric ripped up that carpet and then discovered that it was pretty much the carpet that was holding some of the stairs together. So he removed probably 6 treads and will get those put back together solid in a while. We never use those stairs anyway. 

I spent, ohhh, 7 hours or so outside messing 
around with the trim. I finished up with the nail removal for all of the upstairs trim (roughly 1/8 of the total trim we
 ultimately have to finish and put back up...). I filled, sanded 3 times, and primed the painted trim, and I used a refinishing solution on the stained trim. It didn't take care of the divots I took before the nippers came into the picture, but it sure restored the luster of the wood. It feels like I got a lot done, but looking at this picture, it doesn't look like it.

Eric is doing some planning for the guest bath tile project. Last count is 934  3x4 subway tiles... Goodness. 

And now we're relaxing and I am seriously considering bed, even though it's still light out. I am upset with Eric for not going out and getting me some fruity drinks, but I suppose it's just as well that I don't have them, lest I pass out from tiredness, sugar, and malt-beverage-headache. 

Favorite Tool of all Time!

Nippers! Made a thankless task easy as pie, and potential $$$$ trim replacement unnecessary. Thank you Daddy!!!!

Also, I want to say thank you for the genetics that created my freakishly strong man-hands. 

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Wowee, what a day. I am BEAT! It was hot as blazes today, too, so I'm sure that contributed to our tiredness tonight. The good thing was that the heat made the mosquitos sluggish, so I didn't get bitten very much. 

Here's what we did: 
  • Eric finished the siding on the back of the house, thus enabling us to schedule our home insurance inspection on Monday and start saving tons of money. 
  • I started knocking the nails out of the trim. Got through all the painted trim easy as pie, as it had little trim nails that could easily be removed or, in a pinch, broken. Moved on to the stained OLD trim, and discovered that it has 3 inch casing nails that are, almost invariably, rusted (see right--huge, rusty, cantankerous...). They pound out pretty well from the backside, but, I discovered, they had been varnished over on the front, which means that every time I pounded a nail out from the back, the nail head took a splinter from the front. CRAP!!!! I only did 2 or 3 pieces of trim from an inconspicuous place in the house, so no huge deal. 
  • I called my dad, who is awesome, and asked him if there was some way I could just saw off the backs of the nails, and he told me about a "nipper." We picked one up tonight at Lowes, so we'll see how that works tomorrow. We almost walked out with some "snippers", which are not the same thing as nippers, and bolt cutters, which are DEFINITELY not the same. I'm glad I: 1) called dad and asked him one more time to tell me what the tool was called, and 2) asked a guy who looked like he knew what he was doing. 
  • Did not go grocery shopping. However, did pick up milk and cereal, so we're set for at least a little while. Will go tomorrow. 
  • Did not paint. That happens tomorrow, as well. 
  • Washed the floors--Check! Also, bought a rug! It's quite trendy and modern for our space, but I think it looks really good. And will look even better if we remove the old towels we're using to cover the couches (the dogs are smart--they prefer the couch to the floor). 
  • Did not put anything away. It's still a wreck in here. 
  • Stopped at a nursery on our way home from the dog park this morning, and indeed, the could help me in my quest for quick-spreading, hearty, pretty ground cover (and lavender, sage, and tall grass...). However, they had none of the ground cover, 1 lavender plant, no sage, and 1 tall grass. I figured I'd try somewhere else. However, I cannot for the life of me remember the ground cover plant she was talking about. It starts with an A. 
  • Fireplace is still derelict. I need to get some CLR and get the ironwork cleaned up. That may inspire me to pick out tile. 
Speaking of tile... We did some theorizing at Lowes tonight and I think we've pretty much determined what we're going to do with our bathrooms. The guest bath is basically a blank slate right now, so we're going to have to go all out with that. We're doing subway tile, white, with some colored tile accents. Floor will be black and white, very retro. We also found some lovely semi-inexpensive brown marble that I think we're going to use in the master bath (which currently has slate tile--YUCK!!!). The good news is that we're going to do
 this ourselves, with some help from a pro to install the basins in the showers. Mom, I think we're going to have a working bathroom on the 2nd floor by the time you come to visit! Hooray!

We also stopped and picked up some fixin's for the guest bedroom, so we're ready for visitors!!!!! I do love the combination of brown and blue (right). If only the bedroom that's actually getting used right now was in such good shape... We're waiting to be inspired. 

In all other news, things are quiet. Pixie was a little wacked out tonight, and had a bout of "excited bladder syndrome." Yogi learned how to shake today and has turned his new trick into a means of forcing us to scratch his belly. Look at this picture (below). Yogi did that on his own. He's such a lover. 

Oh yeah, the backyard is still disgusting. We're doing a fence next week and that should improve things mightily. It was also way too hot to be out in the dirt. 

Gearing Up

Isn't it totally intimidating to be entering a weekend knowing that there are about 25 things you HAVE to get finished? That's the boat we're in this morning. Eric got up early to watch the Pats vs. Eagles pre-season game, and I'm just sitting here waiting for the game to finish so we can go to the dogpark and get started with our day. 

Here's what's on the agenda:
  • Eric has to replace the siding on the back of the house around the windows. This is necessary for our new insurance policy, which is roughly half the cost of our old insurance policy. It's a stinky job, but will be worth it. 
  • I am going to knock the nails out of the trim that is sitting in the guest bedroom. Our new bed is being delivered today, so I want to get things cleaned up in there. 
  • I need to go grocery shopping. We have beer and mustard in the fridge. 
  • We need to put another coat of paint on the living room walls, and get the furniture put back. 
  • Wash the floors.
  • Put away all of the crap that is sitting in the foyer, including 80% of Eric's power tools, 4 of my bags, books, movies, etc. etc. etc. We have a little built in bench that I love, but right now, it's serving as the catch all for all the stuff we're too lazy to find a home for. 
  • Find some ground cover for the front yard. I shouldn't be obsessing about this, but we've got some nice weather today and it's supposed to rain gently tonight. It would be a good thing if I could get the plants in the ground at some point today. 
  • I'd like to get the fireplace prepped for its new tile, which I have yet to pick out. I think that will make the whole room look like we've gotten something done. 
  • Clean up the back yard. It's looking a little trashy at this point, what with all of the brown grass (dogs' fault), debris, and unkempt-ness. I think we're just going to bite the bullet and get the rest of the fence installed sooner rather than later. We're now sharing a 50 year old chain link fence with our crazy neighbor, and I am positive that the only reason Yogi hasn't tried to escape is because we treat him like a king. He could totally leap that fence without even trying. Plus, Spike, neighbor's dog, is taking an unhealthy interest in my Pixie, and that is NOT happening. 
Story about our neighbor. She's harmless, okay? She's very elderly, and has lived in the house for, oh, 50 years, so she's not going anywhere. This house is HUGE--bigger than ours, and she lives there by herself with Spike. Her daughter lives down the road and she stops by every day, which is a relief. 

Anyway, our relationship up to this point has been cordial. She is constantly outside picking things up off her lawn, so we see her every time we come in and out. She's obsessed with keeping her lawn clean. Rather than raking, she bends over and picks up individual leaves and sticks, and she is especially vigilant with the little helicopter seeds. She has picked her lawn so clean that I do believe nothing will grow there. It's just patches of dirt. We found her up on her roof the other day, sweeping. 

None of this is a problem. We're happy to keep an eye out for her and to be good neighbors. She is preferable to the other old lady who lives across the street who wants to give me her phone number for some reason and yells at me every time I'm out front. BUT! Our neighbor has dementia, and she gets really confused and angry quite often. The other day we were out painting and putting up the railing and she was out, so we asked how she was. "I'm MAD," she said. We asked why, and she told us she was mad because our contractors had stolen her hose rack--the thing you wind the hose around that gets attached to the house. I said I didn't think that our contractors, who haven't been here regularly in the last 6 weeks, would steal a hose rack, and that they had definitely not been in her yard. She said I was lying, and that she was going to press charges, that she didn't have money to be buying a new hose rack, and that she'd lived there for 50 years and nothing like that had ever happened since we moved in... UGH! I understand entirely that this is the product of her being confused and all that, but I can't help but be a little ticked off. I'm okay with having a crazy neighbor (I've had many, including the paranoid schizophrenic man who lived behind me in Santa Fe, who insisted upon directing the traffic at the end of our driveway...) but my patience for it stops when it gets to this point. So we've been kind of avoiding her. I feel bad, but not bad enough. 

So that's our story. The good news is that, excepting the two old ladies, the rest of our neighbors appear to be 1) sane, 2) friendly, and 3) interested in making the neighborhood as good as it can be. Which is nice. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Mystery Smell

So, dogs smell. Pixie is generally okay smelling as she gets a bath every time she comes home from the dog park. Yogi is a whole different story, as he has layers of hair that haven't seen the light of day since he was a youngster. But this smell is different. I can't put my finger on it, but there is a smell in my kitchen, and it's driving me crazy. It's localized by the back stairs, which have disgusting carpet on them. Eric can't smell it. Maybe it's me???

Got just a little bit of work done over the last couple days. Eric started work on Monday, and has been putting in long days, plus a commute, so he's not getting home till 6:30 or 7:00, and I've been giving the pups long walks after work because they're cooped up in the house all day. So we just haven't had time or the inclination to work. That said, I did get a little stir crazy tonight, and did a couple things.
  • Vacuumed back stairs with "pet fresh" carpet powder. Now it just smells flowery.
  • Vacuumed my office, moved the bookshelves, and put my desk and a chair in there. I'm washing a rug to put on the floor to cover up even more disgusting carpet. 
  • Started the huge task of getting crap out of the guest bedroom. 
  • Broke down some of the boxes that have been sitting in my office
  • Swiffered. Dog hair. EVERYWHERE. 
  • Waxed the woodwork around the big window and stairs, though only as high as I can reach. 
  • Drank two Wild Grape Smirnoff Ices. 
Last night, our contractor, who shall remain unnamed, came over and replaced our kitchen window. Here's the back story:

Contractor convinced us to buy two new windows for the kitchen, which he was offering for what sounded like a good price. We were also sort of forced to replace the old windows because the contractor's doofus workers pretty much destroyed them in passing roughly 3 tons of plaster, lathe, and blown-in insulation through them to the back yard. Anyway, we were fine with this, as our old windows were OLD, single pane, and somewhat warped. However, when Eric came back for a visit in June, he discovered that indeed the new windows had been installed, but that they had been installed in the base of the old windows, which were about a foot longer. Ummm, yes. The new windows came up to his eyebrows. So he forced the contractor to move the windows up to a more reasonable height. In doing so, a doofus (and none of them will admit to it) cracked a pane of glass in the new window. Thinking he was doing something good, contractor removed that pane and nailed a piece of plywood over the hole. 

7 weeks later... We are at the end of our short term home insurance policy, and cannot get covered through our new insurer unless we have actual glass in the window. I tell the contractor this 3 weeks ago, 2 weeks ago, last week, and then daily for the past 4 or 5 days. He finally shows up last night, tells me what a crappy day he had (boo hoo, cry me a river, jerkface...) and puts a pane of glass in the window. It took 10 minutes. BUT! It's the original glass, with the crack in it! He informed me that the new glass would be here in 7 to 10 business days, and that even though it costs $75, he'll take care of it...

Hell YES! he will take care of it. Uf, I am so over this guy. He's decent for stuff that doesn't matter, but I will never ask him to do something important again. 

This is weird--I'm looking across the room and the curtains, and they're hanging backwards (seams are on the inside). I did notice yesterday that Eric got some paint on one of the panels while he was painting the other day. Perhaps this is a bid to make me not notice the paint. Ha. I have eagle eyes. 

Speaking of paint, we've got the Melted Butter up
 on the walls of the living room, and I really like it alot. We'll do one more coat this weekend, and then be done with it. I have picked a color called something-Opal for the rest of the foyer and upstairs hallway. It's a nice extra-extra light yellow. We've got some major spackling to do before we even think about that. 

Ugh, maybe the smell IS the dogs. One of them just tooted, and PEE-YEW!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Tired and covered in paint

I  could use another day or two of weekend. This one was short. Got a lot done, though... I'm way too tired to be witty. Need sleepy...

Here's what I found when I got home from the conference:

Saturday morning, we got up early and went to the dogpark, which I think will be our normal routine. Mainly because it tires the pups out enough so that we can actually get stuff done during the rest of the day. Plus, they like it. They played nice, but Pix got slobbered on by pretty much every dog there. 

Later on Saturday, we went over to the west side of Indy, aka no-man's land (seriously, it's like it's a whole different city over there...) and bought a car. It's a Toyota Yaris, and I like it pretty well. I'd better--it's mine for the next 5 years!

Yesterday, I finished up priming the fence, thank goodness. And today I started painting it. Eric finished the insurance-required railing and I painted that, too. I also pulled about 300 staples out of our back door, filled said staple holes, sanded, and painted it. Good times. Stupid door--we could built a new one in about 10 minutes--seriously, just a bunch of 2x4s nailed precariously together. But we're trying to be a little green here--instead of building new, we're trying to renovate. 

Today, I also went to Lowes and picked up some materials to make screens, and I tried to get someone to help me pick out some ground cover for our front yard which, during bad rains, runs out onto the sidewalk. So I'm looking for something that is durable, will spread fast, has maximum ground-strength-building capacity, and looks pretty. Did Lowes have anyone who knew their head from their ass? Of course not. 
Then drove up and bought a bed for the guest room. And then stopped at my cousins Sue and Joe's place up on the northside, where they gave me some nice lighting that they don't like. I think it's pretty cool stuff, actually--very excited to put it up. 

Eric and his cousin Matt went and toured the new Colts stadium today, thanks to tickets from our neighbors who couldn't go. While they were glad to see the new stadium, they are die-hard Pats fans. They were under specific orders to not wear anything with Patriots on it, lest they get tossed off the bleachers or embarrass our neighbors, the season ticket holders. They acquiesced, but wore Pats t-shirts underneath their button downs. SIGH. Boys are so weird. 

Friday, August 15, 2008

Blahblahblahblahblah... gate

That's what I just heard over the PA system. I'm at the San Diego airport sitting in a wicked uncomfortable chair and waiting waiting WAITING for my plane to arrive. It's not late, I'm just early. And I really want a coffee or some sort of sweet pastry, but there are no restaurants close to me, and, as my bag weighs roughly 50 pounds because it's stuffed full of conference materials, I'm not lugging it to find a restaurant, regardless of how hungry I am. I shouldn't be--I ate breakfast this morning, including 3 pieces of bacon (there goes a week of not eating meat... but it was delicious). Maybe I'm just emotionally hungry because I'm missing my family. That must be it.

Anyway, I'm contenting myself with the free internet provided by the SD airport. Internet can, sometimes, replace a cinnamon roll.

Really eager to get home. This week has been good. I question the effectiveness of my being away from work for a week during what would be my third week of employment--the biggest value-add to my job now is being AT work, reading old materials, and finding out what the hell is going on. But, that said, it was a good conference and I enjoyed myself. I learned a lot, too. In Mass, things were, for me at least, a little simpler, given the fact that regardless what I was talking about, it was more likely than not that 1) people were going to look at me like I was crazy (with a select few exceptions...), 2) the Legislature wasn't going to fund it anyway, and 3) that the program I was proposing was going to be included in the Readiness Initiative, so why even consider it now? Because after all, the Readiness initiative was composed of hundreds of people with little to no tie to public higher education, and led by people with little to no experience or expertise in higher education, public policy, government, or, you know, THINKING.

Rant finished. But my girls from Mass know what I'm talking about. Indiana rocks.

I don't mind traveling, really. Sometimes I enjoy it (the physical getting from place to place, I mean--I always enjoy it once I get to my destination). I particularly enjoy travel when I can get a cheap upgrade to first class on a long flight (worth it!!!!), when I don't have huge layovers at airports like Kansas City or Cincinatti, and when I arrive home at a reasonable hour after a relatively short trip. Today is not one of those days. Not only do I have an HOUR to go before my flight leaves, I have an hour plus flight to Phoenix, where I have an hour and a half layover, and then I have a 3 hour flight to Indy. GAH! I'm not getting home till 10:00 tonight. That is me spending roughly 11 hours either in the airport or in the air. Somebody has got to invent a teleportation device. Why hasn't this been done??? Come on, market economy!!!! Do your job!

At least I have window seats. When I flew in, I sat next to a young woman with a little baby boy--2 months old. As you know, I have the fever, so that mommy-ache inside of me didn't mind my situation at all. But my brain screeched--sitting next to an infant on an airplane is, perhaps, one of the worst travel-based things ever. Because you're a captive audience to his or her poop, throw-up, lullabies, etc. etc. etc. But this little guy, who was named Parker, was delightful. I don't see any small children, so I may dodge a bullet.

There's a guy eating an Arby's Roast Beef sandwich... Torture!

Yours in misery,

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sunny So-Cal

I say that sarcastically. I hate it when people shorten the name of where they live. Like when I lived in South Broadripple, I never EVER called it So-Bro. LAME. 

But yes, I'm in southern California. San Diego to be precise. And staying at a lovely downtown Westin with beautiful white sheets and comforters, soft carpeting, and a fuzzy terrycloth robe for me to wear whilst putzing 'round my room. If I could wear it to the conference, I totally would. 

It's nigh 7:12 AM here, and I am crazy wide away. I fell into the sleep of the dead last night at about 9:30 (only because they kept us at a dinner/speech till 9:15) and woke up at 3:45 this morning, proving that my internal clock has officially set itself, as I wake at 6:45 in the morning in Indy. That said, I am going to be dragging ass tonight at about 8:00. 

I am also feeling somewhat guilty this morning. My lovely colleague Ken has organized a brisk city walk for conference attendees, and I mentioned to him that, indeed, I do enjoy walking and would definitely participate in his walks. He failed to tell me, though, that his walks start at 6:00 in the morning. Now, technically that's 9:00 in the morning for me. But that's not the point. The point is that my clock says 6:00 in the morning, meaning I'd have to wake up at 5:45 at the latest. Psychologically, I just can't handle that. So, this afternoon, post-conference schedule when the baseball enthusiasts are at the Padres game, I will do my own city walk, and perhaps run, too.

I miss Eric and the babies desperately, and every time I see a dog on television, my heart kind of aches for Pix and Yogi. Talked with Eric last night and he said that Pixie was being "an emotional adolescent." She gets weird sometimes when she gets spooked. And she gets spooked by funny things. Here's a good story--as you know, we installed the back steps. Up until the day we built the steps, the dogs were using a set of cinderblock stairs that ran perpendicular to the house. Now, the steps go up the side of the house. They cannot figure it out, and it's hilarious. Yogi is big enough to handle the 3 foot jump up from the ground. Sometimes he takes a flying leap from the old cement stairs to the new platform, which is like 5 feet--it's pretty incredible to watch. Pixie is not big enough. So she'll jump around and try to get up, and not even look to her right and see the stairs. We've tried to teach them, but they're just not internalizing. 

Okay, it's time for breakfast, schmoozing, and embracing my inner higher education wonkishness. 

Monday, August 11, 2008

Big Sweetie Had a Big Day

He was quite busy today. Not only did he finish the back stoop as promised, he also did this:

These are the pups' dog food containers. He showed me this, and I don't think I've ever loved him more than I did at that moment. Too cute.

Here's the stoop. It looks better than the house it's attached to right now...

I head to San Diego for a conference tomorrow through Friday night. Will miss my little family. :(

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Polishing a Turd

Just got in from several hours spend making very little progress in painting/priming the front yard fence. Jeez louise, it takes a long time to paint a fence. But it looks a LOT better. It still doesn't look good, but as I say in the title of this post, the fence is in pretty rough shape. Here's a before and after:

Here's what else we did today:
  • Went to LePeep for breakfast. Gah, it was delicious. I had pancakes with some sort of honey granola almond mixture on top of them, and I swooned. I love LePeep. Eric and I used to go there back in the early days of our courtship. 
  • Went to Home Depot. Again. We went yesterday to pick up a palm sander, among other things. I got it home last night, plugged it in, used it for 3 minutes, and then it broke. So we took it back and got a better one (it worked great). And we also picked up a hose, ostensibly to give Yogi a bath (didn't happen... he still smells), some sawhorses, etc. etc. etc. This has got to stop. 
  • Primed the master bath. That room has at least 12 corners that I can think of. I think we're going to paint it a nice cream color, but that will be next weekend. 
  • Eric fixed the lock on the back fence. We hooked up a padlock up there initially, and then it rained and the lock jammed. SIGH. So Eric sprayed it up with WD40 and it came loose, but we got an outdoor lock with some coating on the metal instead. 
  • Eric also changed out the lock on the basement door. The basement door is currently located at the bottom of a pit where there once were stairs. We've got to replace the stairs, and then get a cover for the doors. The big question is WHERE DID THE STAIRS GO???
  • I sanded the front fence, and then painted roughly 25% of it. My arms are pleasantly achy. 
In the meantime, my Aunt Ro and cousin John stopped by, which was great! Ro got to see all the progress we've made, as she was one of the first to see the house before we bought it--I think she was a little impressed. Ro and I then sat out on the front porch and ate some Cheese Nips and pretended that I had a glass of wine to offer her. She said that our neighborhood reminded her of Beaver Cleaver's. :) 

We also spent some good q-time with the pups, who were very well-behaved with our guests today. Yogi is becoming such a good good dog, but he has some very strange habits. Not only will he not eat his food unless all conditions around him are perfect (he needs permission, Pixie can't be near him, the wind has to be blowing from the Southwest...), he never poops normally. I realize this is a little too much information, but it's so strange. He does a little dance and then backs up INTO something, usually a plant or a bush, but sometimes a lamp post. 

It was an absolutely fantastic day outside--don't think it got over 75. We spent most of it outside, and now we're beat. We put in the movie "Black Sheep" with Chris Farley and David Spade. LOVE it. The scene with the bat in the cabin... Priceless. 

Saturday, August 9, 2008

A dog in the lap is worth two on the floor...

Pix is up here in the chair with me. She is beyond sleepy. We took the kids to the dog park up in Broadripple this morning, and they loved it. They met about 30  new doggie friends and ran their little hearts out. Yogi especially--we've never actually seen him run before. He can go fast, and he's quite impressive when he does it. Pixie... eh, she got slobbered on a lot. We brought a frisbee in hopes that she would embrace that part of her DNA that says she should be good at agility and fetching. But she's relatively graceless, and hasn't figured out the "bring it back" part of fetch yet. 

Went to Home Depot today and spent some time and money. In order to get our home insurance, we have to make some repairs. 
  • Eric is about 3/4 finished with the back steps. Our kitchen door is about 3 feet up off the ground. However, the steps down from the back door are about 6 feet away from the door itself. Weird, no? We assume there must've been a deck attached to the house at some point, and they just didn't bother to take the steps away. Unfortunately, the steps are made of poured concrete, and are totally immovable. It's going to take a jackhammer to get rid of them, at the very least. 
  • According to our insurance people, we have to have a railing on staircases with more than three steps. UGH! So we have to make a stairwell for the front, which isn't going to look good. We picked components that match our front as best as we could find. 
  • We picked up a palm sander so we could get the crappy peely paint off the front fence, and then repaint it. I got about 3 minutes into the sanding this afternoon (which was perfect for dong anything outside), and then the sander quit. So, I guess we're making another trip up to Home Depot tomorrow. 
  • I trimmed out the master bath with primer. That was all I could handle. I hate priming. 
  • We picked a color for the living room, which I really like and I can't wait to get it up on the walls. It's called "Melted Butter" and is obvs a muted yellow. It'll look good. 
We also finally broke down and bought a television, though we don't have cable or an antenna so we can't watch actual television. It's a nice little 19 inch flat screen, and it has a DVD player built in, which is very cool. So we're sitting here watching Stripes (big toe!!!) and I'm feeling nostalgic, because believe it or not, no other movie reminds me of my childhood more than Stripes. 

Pix is running in her sleep right now. She helped me paint this evening--help consisted of sitting under the ladder and giving my legs little licks every once in a while. 

Leaving on Tuesday for 3 days/nights in San Diego for a SHEEO conference. Should be a great conference, and I'm very excited to go, though will be missing my little family something fierce.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Mosquito Food

They love me. Apparently, I have the best blood in town, because all the skeeters in our yard brought their friends tonight and they had an all you can eat buffet on my ankles. 

We made some progress on the House today, all in a quite passive way.

Our contractor FINALLY, after about 2 months of bugging, took away our old fridge, which was sitting in the dining room and was really the major deterrent from us ge
tting much work done in there (or at least that's what I like to tell myself... it couldn't possibly be the huge pile of naily trim sitting on the floor...). The picture to the right may look to the unsuspecting viewer like a trashed out room, but to us, it's a fresh start, free of nasty old refrigerators. Anyway, he also took away the old water heater and all the old gross cabinets. Hooray!
  • I finally scrubbed down the upstairs hallway, which looks now slightly less crappy than it did.
  • I moved our lovely porch furniture around outside, and swept the porch, stairs and sidewalk, so it looks just a little less derelict. I also washed the front windows and swept down the cobwebs. 
  • Doing laundry as we speak. 
  • I swiffered tonight for the first time in three days. Picked up enough hair to make a new dog. 
Tomorrow, we're finishing the back steps, putting up a railing on the front steps, and priming several rooms. 

Here's the status on a couple rooms I've been griping about. Kitchen has both appliances hooked up, which is fantastic. And some of my books are on the bookshelves in my office. Happy. 

Also, GOOD NEWS! Eric got a job! He's been looking for a little while, and the market out here isn't great for architects, but he found a super position out east of Indy doing stuff he's interested in, and I couldn't be happier. He starts in mid-August. Go Big Sweetie!

Speaking of sweeties, our doggies are being very good tonight. Yogi is laying in his favorite corner, but shot me the stink eye when I tried to take his picture and threatened to go upstairs to the bathroom (where he likes to sleep... he's a weird dog). Pixie is laying in the fireplace with Smitty the Gargoyle and our elephant. Here's a picture. Too cute. And our fireplace actually looks good in this picture. Trust me, it doesn't in real life. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Not much to report

Eric and his cousin Matt are building a very small deck off the back door. We didn't intend for it to be a small deck, but a large deck right now is, shall we say, prohibitively priced. But we needed the steps for home insurance, so it's a small deck and it's looking okay. Dogs are totally freaked out by it.

Eric's back is hurting again. He just ate an entire pint of ice cream to make it feel better.

And I just got bit by another 6 mosquitoes. SIGH.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Idyllic Afternoon

As promised, here are some pictures of our afternoon at the park. 

Sleepless in Indiana...

And not in a romantic soul-mate, country-crossing, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan sort of way either.

I'm on no sleep. NO sleep! Like Jerry Seinfeld when he's sleeping in Kramer's apartment and the Kenny Roger's Chicken place neon sign is blinking in his window... Sigh.

Yes, Pixie is a real handful. She's currently sleeping right next to me, and has been since, ohhh, 7:30 this morning. Why she chooses to fall asleep at 7:30 a.m. and not at 11:30 at night is yet to be determined. But regardless, it is a real pain in my butt to be wakened no fewer than 10 times a night by:
  • a thumping tail
  • a panty mouth
  • a crazed licking of the fingers of the hand you've let escape off the side of the bed
  • toxic doggie farts
  • whines that mean "I'm gonna pee NOW, so you'd better hurry up, mom!, though you know I'm still going to poop in the attic tomorrow morning after you let me out..."
Anyway, despite all these things, we do love our pups. Took them to the vet yesterday after we discovered that the Yogmeister couldn't go to the groomer without a rabies booster--apparently his last vaccination was in 2004. Pix also needed several boosters herself. Pixie is the picture of good health, and was a big hit at the vet's office. Yogi was also exclaimed and cooed over, but we discovered (DUH) that he has gingivitis. We got a finger toothbrush and some poultry flavored toothpaste for him, and he appears to like it. Poultry flavored breath, however, is only slightly less repulsive than normal Yogi breath.

After the vet, we took them over to Broadripple Park, which is beautiful and huge and full of gigantic native trees, where we walked and hung out in the shade, and I got bitten no fewer than 10 times by mosquitos. I have pictures of this idyllic afternoon, but it turns out that we don't have a spare camera cord to replace the one Pixie ate. Perhaps I will make a trip up to Target this afternoon.

In House news, I was a very busy girl yesterday. I finished priming and painting my bookshelves, which I will move upstairs to my office this afternoon. This will be great, as that room is currently home to all of my books, which are all in boxes. This makes me crazy. I know deep in my soul that the reason I'm feeling so out of sorts lately is not because my books are in boxes, or because all my kitchen stuff is still packed, or whatever. It's because we have SO much to do with this house, but don't have the time or resources to do it with right now. Yet, I've settled upon my books in boxes as a source of stress lately, so I'm excited to get them unpacked. I am loathe, however, to start putting furniture in that room. Our carpet is GROSS (though could probably be helped by a good steam cleaning, and I don't know why we haven't done that yet). Ah well.

Breaking news: I just killed two flies. It was spectacular. One was a normal-sized fly that I got in just one swipe. The other, however, must've been like the Queen fly of all time. HUGE. And buzzy. So I went over there and just started banging in its general vicinity with a rolled up magazine. And I got it, except I didn't kill it--I maimed it. Normally, I'm totally a humanitarian and I wish no pain or ill-will on any living creature. But this time, I was just a little happy to see the fly on the floor, spinning around all crazy-like, buzzing frantically. Several well-placed thumps with the magazine ended that fly's time on this planet. And I celebrated. Yes, I am Haley. Lord of the Flies.

Where was I??? Ah yes. Bookshelves are painted. I also painted the trim in the halfbath downstairs yesterday, and touched up the door, which appears to be new. This is what I don't understand about this house. There are new doors, fixtures (though they're all the cheap gold doorknobs etc that are the worst match EVER for the period of the house), new paint (though definitely a "baby poop" sort of color), and all of that. But if you look closely, you see that each of the new doors has a flaw, that the doors were painted AFTER the doorknobs were installed, that the paint jobs suck... I'm not a home improvement genius, okay, but I'd like to meet the former owners/renovators of this house and just kick them in the butt. This house is a total gem, but they were about a month away from totally wrecking it. I guess we can be thankful that the gods of foreclosure lowered the boom before they got too far along.

Today, I'm going to repaint the kitchen door (as soon as Eric shopvacs it), and we're going to prime the master bath, back stairwell, and a portion of the hallway. We're also going to start working on the stupid trim. Here's the story there: we have LOTS of trim. Everything that could be trimmed out in this house is, and most of it is awesome (except the chair rail that is currently functioning as a crown molding in our living room... and it's white). And each piece of trim was attached to the wall with roughly 150 nails per 3 feet section. Exaggeration, yes, but you get my point. We have to bang out each nail individually on about, no joke, 400 linear feet of trim.

I may also run up to Bed Bath and Beyond and finally get the curtains for the big window in the living room. We've got dark drapes up right now, which were great for hiding stuff while we were still living in Boston, but keep things rather cave-like in here. I put up some nice sheers in the foyer and door windows, and they look great. Will probably just get some matching ones in here, and that should lighten things up considerable. We also have a transom window, and I think we'll hang our "Matson" sign there, until we can find/afford a stained glass insert.

Pretty psyched about getting things painted in here. We're currently rocking a brownish shade in here, which doesn't look bad, but doesn't add any sort of ambiance. The only issue is that in the foyer, when we commit to a color, we have to REALLY commit, because the color is continuous all the way up the stairs (20+ foot high wall in the stairway) and into the upstairs hall. How we're going to paint that high, I have no idea... That sounds like an accident waiting to happen.

We also have to get the damn toilets installed in the second floor bathrooms! Eric has to take out a couple pieces of tile in the master bath in order to shore up the toilet, which was apparently not sealed to the ground. I'm not really wedded to that tile. In fact, I kind of hate it, but it's really too nice to just tear out. And we spent so much time cleaning it that we'll have to be careful with it. Crap.

Okay, this has become stream of consciousness, and I need another cup of coffee. Like, 12 cups of coffee...

Friday, August 1, 2008

Quick Update

No huge news by any other standard than "it makes a difference in Haley's life"...

-Stove is installed in the kitchen. Last night, we had our first hot, homecooked meal in three weeks. It was just a baked pasta dish, but it had meat, and cheese, and it was COOKED! It was more delicious than I could have dreamed.
-Pixie got her first bath. I tossed her in the Jacuzzi tub (no jets, though), and scrubbed her down with some nice puppy shampoo. She did NOT like it, though she didn't fight it either. She just stood there with her chin on the lip of the tub, looking like a drowned rat. And then she came downstairs all prancy and got into it with her brother, who has the patience of a saint, I tell you. She's feeling very proud of her good-smelling, silky-haired self.
-Made an appointment for Yogi at the groomer tomorrow. This will not be a regular thing. In efforts to cut back, I'm forgoing a haircut for myself. So this will be a one-time clean up for the Yogster, where I anticipate he will loose about 15 pounds worth of hair. He'll be much more comfortable, too. We're just waiting for his records to show up, because we need to prove he's had his shots. Keep your fingers crossed.

And that's it. Eric and I were commenting yesterday in the car (which is pretty much the only place we're alone anymore) that the doggies are quite consuming. We like it, but I suppose at some point we're going to have to shift the focus from them back to the whole point of our being here, which is that darn house. Tomorrow, after grooming appointment and dog park trip, I WILL prime and paint my bookshelves. I will!