Sunday, November 30, 2008


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.