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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

how we spent our sunday

Painting, hiking, and snorgling ferrets. Click here to see the full Flickr set. We spent the day over at our friends Lindley and Raymond's apartment, helping them paint one of their bedroom walls. Then we took the ferrets for a walk.

More pictures I particularly like are here and here.

Monday, October 30, 2006

two week recap plus future planning

Well, our project at work has been delivered. I could use a few days' rest and recuperation time, but freedom is pretty awesome by itself (I came into the office today and a coworker saw me and said, "So, how does it feel to finally be free?").

So I suppose now it's time to let you all know what's been happening, hey?

Well. Newsflash: it's autumn. Late autumn. So it's been getting cold. You might remember that we gutted our dining room and family room back in May. Guess where the thermostat was? Since we thought that we'd have a lot more done by now, we never anticipated needing to actually put the old thermostat back on. So when it finally got cold enough that we needed to turn on the heat, a couple of weeks ago, we dithered about it until Don finally got up the motivation to try to wire everything back together. Mind you, he's no stranger to thermostat wiring -- we successfully installed one of those fancy-dancy programmable thermostats in the old house -- but he simply hadn't bothered to make note of which wire went where when he took it down, since we thought we'd have HVAC by now.

Needless to say, he couldn't get it to work. Fortunately, his mom sent his dad over, who promptly fixed it for us. Whew! Then we turned the radiators on, setting the thermostat to bring the house to about seventy degrees.

At one in the morning, we woke up to a house which was about ninety degrees. The radiators hadn't turned off. And then we discovered that the windows in our bedroom don't open. Sigh. So, after having a screaming fight, fiddling with the thermostat, and spending an hour sitting in the living room in our underwear with all the windows and the front door flung open, we turned the breaker for the furnace off. Because, as it turns out, that's the only way to get the radiators to turn off. So, since neither of us ever gets home early enough to, say, turn the radiators on to heat up the house for the evening before turning them off before bed, we don't use the radiators now. And our house is very cold.

Mom, if I never properly thanked you for buying me that gigantic down duvet for Christmas many years ago, believe me, I'm thanking you now.

So as you might guess, our plans to get HVAC put in have suddenly become much more urgent. Fortunately, when Don's dad came over to rewire the thermostat that day, he took a look around and yelled at us. Normally it is not so fortunate when someone yells at you, but in this case, once he finished yelling, he informed us that he was going to press-gang Don, and the two of them were taking down that wall, dammit.

"That wall, dammit" is the wall in between the dining room and the family room. They're going to build little temporary walls and take down the wall and then put in a big header beam, and we will have a gigantic open space. And Don's dad says it will only take a weekend. They're also going to open up the large doorway in between the dining room and the living room.

The big change to the plans (other than the fact that we are actually DOING SOMETHING) is that we are not going to tear down the kitchen wall. Or rather, not right now. We're going to cut in a doorway, so that we can go directly from the kitchen to the dining room. Just a normal sized doorway, nothing special. It'll be right where the door opening will be in the eventual finished room (between the future breakfast bar and the future built-in bookcases, no less). Once Don and his dad have taken down the dining room/family room wall and opened up the living room doorway, the HVAC people are going to come in and do their thing -- and we are taking the radiators OUT. Then we're going to ignore the kitchen, while we finish the dining room, family room, and living room (the doorway from the kitchen to the dining room allows us to finish the dining room, since we'll be able to use it as a dining room if we can get to it easily from the kitchen).

I realize that a lot of this doesn't make sense unless you've seen our house and/or its floorplan. But that's not what's important here. What's important is that this is actually happening. In two weeks. Seriously. I mean, not all at once. But Don and his dad are going to be doing their thing the weekend after this coming one (Don's got a fraternity initiation to go to this weekend, or they'd be doing it sooner). And Don is working on getting some HVAC quotes so that those people can come in as soon as he and his dad are done. Yay! Progress!

And yes, we're getting the roof replaced. More on that another day.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

why you haven't seen me lately

I keep a pad of paper in front of my computer at all times. I like lists, you see. Here's today's sheet of paper, which may give you a clue as to the state of my mind for the last week or so (you may have to click the image to get a readable view, sorry).

My publication gets sent out to ONR (that's the Office of Naval Research for you... uh... landlubbers) for review and release on Monday. As soon as it comes back, it gets shipped off to the printers and I wash my hands of it.

This is why I have been absent for the last week or so, and why I will continue to be absent until my bouncing baby book is at the printers. I have spent virtually every waking hour hip-deep in layout, proofs, PDFs, hyphenation, submarines, welding, and indexes. It's a quagmire. So I am unable to update you as to the state of our roof (falling apart), our relationship (we only see each other on Sundays), our finances (no new kitchen), or our future plans (I can't see past the print date anyway).

But I will. After our printer's kill date of October 27th, I will.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

yet another disaster

Allstate has just written and informed us that they'll be cancelling our homeowners' insurance in early November unless we replace the roof.


Because, you know, with production at work weeks behind schedule, grad school work falling behind, business design work piling up, and the cat depositing HALF OF A MOUSE in the dining room, I totally need more stress.

Contractor coming on Friday to give us an estimate. Don will have to take care of this one by himself; until October 27th I'm pretty much chained to my desk at work and will be working late every day -- and, if things don't go well, on the weekends.

Blogging may be spotty for a while, guys. Sorry.

Monday, October 09, 2006

on domesticity and cleanliness

We had some people over for dinner yesterday. It was an informal sort of thing -- and by 'informal' I mean 'sitting on the couches eating off of paper plates' -- but it was still people, coming over to our house, and seeing our living space. It was a terrifying prospect, even if the people in question were Don's fraternity brothers, used to living in... um... less than tidy conditions. They all have mothers -- deep down, they know what a house is supposed to look like, and ours, well, doesn't.

So we indulged in a frenzy of cleaning in the morning, and our house looks much better than it's accustomed to looking. The living room is no longer a tangled mass of furniture, the kitchen sparkles, the laundry is collected in one spot -- even the bed is made! It's amazing. What's really amazing, though, is how satisfying it is to have a clean house. Even though we're still sort of living out of boxes, and there's a construction zone in the middle of the house, and most of our stuff is stored away, having the house as clean as we can make it feels like we're a little more calm and settled.

On the topic of domesticity, I wanted to point you guys to a couple of recent pieces by Hanne Blank, a local scholar who keeps a warm and welcoming house -- and a great blog.

Check out "Why You Need To Own An Apron" and "On Household Routines".

Friday, October 06, 2006

ceiling treasures, episode 879598734535

Don only found one thing hidden in the drop ceiling of the master bedroom when he took it down, astonishingly enough (when we took down the ceilings in the dining room and the downstairs bedroom we found things like Grandma's Easter decorations, a giant spoon and fork, a ceramic fire hydrant, and a vintage video camera all tucked away in the drop ceilings). What he found was this "Poollife" magazine, from 1993. Why somebody felt the need to hide this away in the ceiling is beyond me.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

cable from the heavens

One of the Eddies (lots of Eddies have lived in this house, including but not limited to Grandpa Eddie, Uncle Eddie, and Little Eddie) worked for the cable company, lo these many years ago. So our house is wired for cable in the most fantastic way -- and I mean that in the literal sense of fantastic. Look it up. Our basement cable junction actually reduced the cable installer guy to speechlessness when they hooked up our cable. All he could do was sputter helplessly and point dramatically. So nothing surprises us when it comes to cable in our house -- not even when Don took the bedroom drop ceiling down and found a mysterious cable box plunked in the middle of the ceiling, with a length of unattached cable coiled loosely around it.

Really, we half expected it. Because, after all, we took the ceiling in the back bedroom down ages ago, and it's got one, too.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

he's so helpful

On Saturday, as we left class, I wondered aloud to my friend Jocelyn what on earth Don had been doing while I was gone all day (my Saturday class is from 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM). I figured he'd either been playing poker online, watching TV, sleeping, or, in some extreme circumstance, doing homework.

Boy, was I wrong! I got home, and lo and behold, he'd spent the day taking down the drop ceiling in the master bedroom (the very last one! hooray!) and ripping down some of the paneling in there, on the wall where the door to the new closet is going to go. How productive! AND -- he even remembered to take a "before" picture for the blog! What a model citizen.

Here's before:

And here's after:

Look how much higher the ceiling is! The wall is actually a slightly lighter version of the purple from the purple closet, although you can't tell in the picture. Don says the room feels so much bigger with even just this one chunk of paneling down. He's right, too.

Monday, October 02, 2006

we've got them too

It's a veritable epidemic. John's got them. Jeannie's got them.

And we have them, too. Mice.

Or rather, we HAD at least one. Until the cat found it, mangled it, and deposited it next to my shoes in all its bloody glory. This picture's kind of gross, I'm sorry. But, you know, I want to share all my experiences with you people, not just the pretty ones! (In other words, if I had to see it, so do you.)

grand opening

Today's the day! Anapurna Fantasy Jewelry and Accessories is officially open for business. Head on over to the website and take a look. Then buy something. You know you want to.