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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

no halloween here

We don't really do anything for Halloween. Once the house is done, we might put out a pumpkin or two and a harvest-y wreath on the door or anything, but we certainly don't do it now. The kids in our neighborhood are very good about abiding by the "if the lights aren't on there's no trick-or-treating" rule, so we just don't turn on our front porch light. Actually, even if we wanted to we couldn't, since the electricity to the outside lights is still turned off (they're wired to the same fuses we had to turn off when we gutted the first floor). Not to mention our front stairs are pretty unsafe-looking, what with the overgrown weeds and wobbly-looking railings. So we don't buy any candy and we don't do costumes or anything. We weren't invited to any Halloween parties (although my office is having a "Halloween potluck" in about half an hour, for which I made a greek salad).

I may try to convince Don that we ought to go out to dinner, just to avoid the neighborhood Halloween crowd (plus I forgot to take anything out of the freezer this morning). I'm glad, though, that we don't live in the city -- where our friends are dealing with "Ghettoween" tonight.

But happy Halloween to everybody anyway. Maybe by this time next year we'll be able to accomodate trick or treaters.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

we'll be there, will you?

I'm dumb and forgot to upload my pictures from this weekend again. Hopefully I'll remember tonight, although I've got to go to the grocery, make a salad for a potluck, find a certain pair of earrings from the Big Box of Inventory (of doooooom!), take care of a migrainey fiance, deal with dinner, and make sure the proposal I'm writing is ready for printing tomorrow. So, you know, no promises.

But! There is one promise I can make, and that is that both the elusive Don and I will be at this Friday's Blogger Happy Hour at Holy Frijoles! I'm going for the people, he's going for the margaritas. If you're local, come out! (And if you're not local, drive here and THEN come out!) The Baltimore bloggers are, without fail, fabulous and awesome and seriously friendly.

(PS don't forget to do like Danielle did and check out the new stuff on Etsy, if you see something you love I can just bring it to the happy hour!)

Monday, October 29, 2007

productivity without participation on my part is totally the best kind

I am exceedingly meh today. I was incapacitated most of the weekend with Girl Troubles, which made for a less than restful time. We did get out to our friends' house to play D&D like the dorks we are (it doesn't hurt that they have three extremely cute cats, all of whom are moderately snuggly). Sunday was our official Work On The House day. We discovered that our new heating system works marvelously well -- on the first floor. This hastened our approach to moving downstairs, as you can probably imagine. So Don spent the day running wire and installing outlets in the dining room and living room so that we'll have power for our temporary living quarters. The outlets are just temporary; they aren't even installed in the wall or anything, just tucked away on the floor in corners so they're out of the way. I'll post pictures tomorrow; I did take a few, I just haven't transferred them over to the computer yet.

My job during the wiring process was to occasionally go and pull wires through the floor whenever Don poked them up at me, and hold them while he ran up and down the stairs making sure of whatever he was making sure of. This left a lot of time for other things, so I spent most of the day working on the Anapurna Etsy site, and uploading new inventory. Very exciting! Go look.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

popping up on my RSS feed

Martha Stewart has a blog now. And somehow that woman finds time to post every day (or at least to write -- I recognize her writing style well enough to know that it's her putting together the words, but I can't guarantee she's the one logging into TypePad to actually hit 'publish post' every day [also I find it kind of accessibly charming that she's using TypePad instead of just having her web gurus just whip up a page for her to upload to or something]). As usual, she puts me to shame. But I still can't get enough of the inside peeks into things like photo shoots for the production of a new book, or glimpses into her Bedford and Skylands houses (FIFTEEN different kinds of artisanal salt and pepper sitting ready and waiting in ramekins next to the stove, I kid you not). It's nice that's it's not just another incarnation of 'oh, check out this crafty project you too can do!' Which is all well and good, of course, but there are lots of other places in the Omnimedia Empire (PS I love the word omnimedia) to do that sort of thing. She actually seems to have grasped the concept of blogging as I see it, having a little internet window into real goings-on and personal behind the scenes stuff.

Now if only SHE'd read MY blog. I wonder if she uses an RSS feed.

rain, rain

We've been getting steady rain for the last day and a half or so, and it appears to have finally kickstarted the autumn colors to come out. Where everything was unrelentingly green (or sometimes just dead), finally we've got oranges and reds and yellows all up and down the Baltimore-Washington corridor. The downside, of course, is that apparently everyone has miraculously forgotten how to drive at the same time and traffic has been miserable since it started raining.

If it's still raining this weekend, we'll be forced to work inside, which won't exactly make me sad. I'd like to get the wiring done downstairs and at least get the office moved down before Don leaves on his first business trip (his new job is sending him on several trips over the next couple of months). That way, when I'm wandering around the house wondering what to do with myself while he's gone, I could actually do something -- either work on pulling down the paneling in the back bedroom or work on clearing out the attic, both things that need to get done.

Or, you know, I could just sit around eating ice cream. Either way.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

looks like a real kitchen

It doesn't, really. Look like a real kitchen, I mean. But it does look like a usable kitchen, which is way more important. While we were at Home Depot picking up yet more metal blades for the radiator-cutting project, I finally nagged -- I mean, convinced Don to pick up a set of plastic metal shelves for the kitchen so that we can finally put away some of the things that we've had sitting in the bathroom for storage (hush, it's not like we've been USING that bathroom). The little bookshelf has been inhabiting the kitchen in various places for a while now; it started out under the temporary countertop and then moved to where the big shelves are now. Now it's along the far wall, which seems to work pretty well.

Someday, when the kitchen is done, the refrigerator will go where the plastic shelves are, and then this whole corner will become our pantry area, with some of those big pantry cabinets and a wine refrigerator and some glass-fronted upper cabinets to store serveware. But for now, at least it's giving us some storage space.

And here's a shot from the bathroom hallway of the entire kitchen, finally put together with countertops and shelves and a microwave that's not on the floor. Very exciting. This is how the kitchen will stay for the duration of the renovation; it will be the very last thing we do, because kitchens are damned expensive. Someday, the wall that the stove is against will become a breakfast bar that's open to the dining room; the windows behind the temporary countertop will turn into french doors leading out to a hypothetically lovely backyard and deck.

For now, though, at least it's functional again. Just another step in the right direction.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

gone, radiator, gone

We managed to get right into the swing of things this weekend, which I think is a pretty good sign. Now that the first floor HVAC is done, everything's on our shoulders for a while, which is SO much easier than waiting for other people. As previously mentioned, we painted on Saturday in Virginia, but on Sunday we were here at the house, making things happen.

Or rather, we made one thing happen. But it was a big thing! We finally got rid of the last of the radiators on the first floor. There were two left after our big demolition, in the two rooms that didn't get gutted: the kitchen and the bathroom. Both of the radiators were EXTREMELY oversized, particularly the one in the kitchen. Don determined that the best strategy would be to chop them up into more manageable pieces with the reciprocating saw and a metal blade. Or rather, THREE metal blades, because that's how many we went through.

The tricky bit was actually that we needed to cut these long skinny metal rods that are strung through the middle of the radiator; they're soldered to a big lump at the ends to make sure they don't come out, so the only way to get them out is to cut them. And you have to get them out, because they're close to the big thick part at the top and bottom of the radiator that has to be chopped through, and the damn saw will hit them and either bind or rebound or do something else moderately alarming.

Watch, as our kitchen floor magically gets dirtier and dirtier! Yay, metal dust! That was fun to clean up afterwards.

I didn't get any pictures of him cutting the one from the bathroom; it was actually a lot heavier even though it wasn't as long, because it was taller and thicker. The one he's cutting in these pictures is the one from the kitchen, which used to be against the wall under the window, where my beloved temporary countertop goes.

End result: three pieces of radiator, one very confused cat.

(And can I just say how AWESOME it is to finally be able to take and post pictures of THINGS ACTUALLY HAPPENING?)

Monday, October 22, 2007

the paintbrush post

Recently, we were asked to review a product here on the blog. Normally, when people offer you free tools or products in exchange for a review, what they really mean is "say nice things about us!". Which is why I generally don't do it. We're pretty dedicated to our tools; I'm not going to say nice things about something that I didn't particularly like. And, for what it's worth, I've linked to plenty of things I did like without any incentive at all -- like our dumpster guys, who still charge us. ;)

But the folks from EZ-Paint didn't insist on me saying nice things; they were adamant that they wanted our honest opinion. So, they get it.

Obviously, since we STILL don't have walls, we couldn't paint our own house. Fortunately, our close friends Lindley and Raymond are participating in the Apartment Therapy Cure 2007; a take-charge-and-make-some-positive-and-possibly-colorful-changes-in-your-space sort of program. And they needed to paint. So we loaded up our cute little paintbrush in its cute little package that we got in the mail and headed to Virginia on Saturday.

The deal with the EZ-Paint brush is that it is supposed to be practically magically easy to clean; the handle is hollow, and the top end is threaded to hook onto a garden hose or sink. The water goes straight through the handle and into the "secret" area where the bristles are attached, where it is somehow dispersed fairly evenly throughout the bristles, getting them clean in a very short amount of time.

That is, I think that's what happens. Because, you see, apparently we didn't read the supporting documentation all that well. We thought it said that you could hook it up to a garden hose or any standard sink, when in fact as it turns out the only sinks that you can hook it up to are utility sinks (or "deep sinks", as Don's very descriptive family calls them -- their old car was "the tan car" and our house is "the big house"). Well, Lindley and Raymond live in an apartment, and have neither a garden hose nor a utility sink. So we were left with this:

So. Failing the actual ability to test the actual magical-ness of the brush, here are our other thoughts.

The thing about this brush is that you shouldn't need it. It's an as-seen-on-tv, magically-make-your-life-easier sort of gimmick. If you're the sort of person who paints a lot, chances are you know how to properly clean and store your brushes. And if you do, you don't need a 'self-cleaning' brush. If you're not the sort of person who knows how to clean and store your brushes, I bet you haven't got a utility sink, either. But, on the other hand, you might have a garden hose and you also might be the sort of person who likes this sort of Make! Life! Easier! sort of gimmick. So more power to you, go ahead.

On the positive side, the brush itself is a quality brush. For the price, you are getting a very nice brush if nothing else. The bristles are high-quality polyester and appear to be the same kind you see in the high-end brushes, and they'll definitely last for a while (provided you've got a utility sink or garden hose and clean them appropriately).

The company advertises the plastic handle as both light and ergonomic; Don hates how light it is and I found it significantly less than ergonomic. The thing with having a light handle is that it means that the brush part -- the part COVERED IN PAINT -- is the heaviest part of the thing. One good swish and it's top-heavy enough to fly out of your hand and go spinning through the air and paint the cat. And believe me, I'm clumsy enough that this WILL HAPPEN (yes, I do still have green paint on my foot from Saturday, please do not ask how it got there). As for the ergonomic-ness (is that a word?), my problem -- and I realize that this is probably fairly unique to me, so I won't argue with EZ-Paint's advertising campaign -- is that I have phenomenally small hands. Like, child-size. So I found it very hard to grasp the fairly large handle, particularly in a way that made it easy for me to paint at all, let alone comfortably.

So, summary: If you don't know how or are unwilling to properly clean and care for your paintbrushes, have bigger hands and are less clumsy than me, and are in possession of a utility sink or garden hose, go for it. I'm not going to say that it's a bad product; it just seems sort of silly and unnecessary to me. But then, I'm not really the target market for it. It might have been better to ask people who don't paint often and find the task fairly daunting to review this product; I'm pretty sure their reviews would be uniformly glowing. As long as they had a deep sink.

(Make sure to check out houseblogs.net for other housebloggers' reviews of this product.)

Friday, October 19, 2007

productivity: pending

Can I tell you, I cannot WAIT until this weekend. I mean, aside from the fact that it's a weekend and I get to sleep more than usual, we're going to do something totally different from the norm: we're going to WORK ON THE HOUSE!

I KNOW! I can't believe it either. Don has been plotting and planning, so I'm assuming he's got a list of things to work on. I only care about one of them: the kitchen. We had to take the countertop that he built down for the HVAC guy, because one of the vents goes right under it and there was a radiator there, so HVAC guy needed easy access to the radiator to move it out of the way and install the vent. So we took down our countertop, but as we all know it took QUITE A WHILE for the HVAC guy to finish. Our microwave has been on the floor for WEEKS. The door-opening button is probably half-dead because I took to kicking it open instead of bending down to push it. Yes, I'm lazy.

Anyway. We finally get to re-install our countertop, which means the microwave will be in its place and various other things can be moved off of the main countertop, which gives me chopping space again. And let me tell you, I made a variation on this recipe last night and there was a lot of chopping involved. It wasn't fun with no counter space.

So I'm excited, because we're going to put the countertop back this weekend. We're also going down to Alexandria to help paint Lindley and Raymond's study and test out a mystery painting tool for houseblogger reviews -- stay tuned for that post.

Our next step is to put in some temporary electrical on the first floor. I don't know how much of that we'll get done this weekend, if any, but it's awfully nice to have it on our shoulders instead of somebody else's. Now, if stuff doesn't get done, it's our problem and not anybody else's. And we're in a lot more control of when things DO get done. I think Don's waiting to see what the weather's like this weekend before he decides whether we'll work on the electrical or get a few winterizing things done outside while we still can. But the kitchen is SO happening.

Orzo with Roasted Vegetables
(adapted from Ina Garten's recipe of the same name)

1 yellow bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 red onion (mine was fairly large)
4 small portobella mushrooms (Safeway is only carrying dwarf ones these days for some reason)
3 tablespoons olive oil (-ish -- it's not a precise measurement)
2-3 garlic cloves (I cheat and use the pre-minced stuff in a jar; one teaspoon is about one clove)
1 teaspoon salt (a good sprinkling -- you don't really need to measure)
1/2 teaspoon pepper (same)
1/2 pound orzo (orzo is a rice-shaped pasta; you could probably use something else if you wanted but try to use something small so the pasta doesn't overwhelm the vegetables)
4 scallions, minced
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped or julienned
8 ounces of feta cheese

1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Chop peppers, red onion, and mushroom into approximately 1-inch pieces. Think "rustic". Put chopped vegetables onto a baking sheet, and toss with oil, garlic, salt, and pepper.

Roast vegetables for 40 minutes, until browned. Turn once with a spatula.

Meanwhile, make the orzo as directed on the box (it's generally 'boil for 7-9 minutes'). Drain.

Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a bowl and whisk to create the dressing. In a large mixing bowl, pour dressing over pasta while it is still warm and mix.

Add the roasted vegetables to the pasta and mix, then add the minced scallions and chopped basil. Mix.

Dice the feta into approximately 1/2 inch cubes and add to the bowl. Mix carefully so as to crumble the feta as little as possible.

Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Notes: This salad is seriously excellent as leftovers -- it chills very well. It might be good with parsley or lemon zest added for a little additional zing, but I made it as written and it's awesome.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

um, wow

So, that was anticlimactic. HVAC guy's done! He just yelled up the stairs, so I went down and he showed me how he'd done a couple of things, and said that when we get the drywall done in the corner where the return is he'll come out and make a metal sleeve so it reaches to wherever the drywall winds up being, and I told him we'll work out when we're going to get the upstairs demolition done and give him a call for that part.

We have heat! And air conditioning! And it works! OMG!


Since Don's officially a working man now, I get to be the one who stays home for contractors these days. My job is pretty friendly towards working from home, since we've got a good VPN system and our work doesn't require top-secret secured facilities like Don's usually does. So I'm here, working on two different proposals at my very messy and non-productivity-conducing desk (I should probably fix that part). And guess who else is here?

HVAC guy! No, really! He's here! He's doing things! It's very exciting. He was scheduled to get here at 7 this morning, so Don had to roust me out of bed far earlier than I'm used to (I told him not to leave the house unless I was actively upright). He didn't show up until 7:30, after I'd sent a few increasingly snarky messages to my boss indicating that I might be in to the office after all, blah blah blah. But he showed up. I let him in and told him to yell upstairs if he needed anything and try not to let the cat out because she's not very brave, and he got to work. So far I've heard banging, thumping, drilling, and a couple of thuds and clangs, all of which I take to be a good sign.

Cross your fingers people, we might actually have heat by the end of the day. Just in time for temperatures to go back up to the 80s this weekend! Thanks, Baltimore weather!

(PS - If you get the title of this post, you're a dork. Good job. ;) )

Monday, October 15, 2007

vibes, good and otherwise

Don starts his new job today. I was up half the night being nervous for him while he slept rather peacefully. Of course he's in orientation all day, so he can't call me every other hour and tell me all about it like I want. He's not even in his actual office today, since his job is onsite on one of the many, many military installations in the area. He's at one of the corporate offices for the day, which meant that he had to leave the house at 7 this morning. Quite a drastic change for the man who was still in his underpants when I came home at 6 PM last week.

In other news, I managed to get a splinter in my foot last night, and this morning the puncture wound from it has made it very painful to walk. Which is unfortunate, since today's work at my day job involves a lot of walking back and forth to printers and the like. Sigh.

I made these cookies over the weekend, they're fantastic. Don was disappointed at first that they weren't chocolate chip, his favorite (he lives in eternal hope that THIS time, I'll be baking them), but by the end of the weekend he was violently protesting my inclination to take some of them in to the office to share. I did it anyway. (And yes, Mom, I used low-fat ricotta and it didn't make a darn bit of difference. Hooray!)

Hopefully someday soon this blog will actually go back to being house-related.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Jeannie is always talking about reno-wear -- stuff that celebrates those of us who have this wee little obsession. There've been cuff-links in the shape of tools, various t-shirts, and of course the pink tool-belts. I guess it's my turn to find one! Check out these great rings from Rob and Lean on Etsy -- handcrafted from titanium with a hard-surface countertop inlay! Go ahead, celebrate that kitchen demolition! They've got a bunch of different colors of countertop surface, and they specialize in customization -- who knows, maybe if you save some of your old countertop or even some of your new stuff they might be able to turn it into a ring for you. Ask them!

(Incidentally, we plan on getting rings from Rob and Lean sometime soon to replace our engagement rings -- they are awesome! Ours probably won't be the countertop ones, though.)

so close

The HVAC guy did show up yesterday after all. And he made a point of talking to Don before he left for the day to let him know where he was at and what still needs to be done. It's like a magical transformation! At this point, all of the vents and ducts are officially in and hooked up, including the ones in the kitchen addition. The return -- that bit that sticks out of the side of the house -- has been installed. There's one piece of ductwork missing -- the piece that connects the return to the rest of the system. It needs to be specially fabricated at the shop. After that, he needs to connect the gas line to the furnace and make a couple of other connections and the first floor will finally be done, done, done!

You would think he would just schedule himself to come out to our job and finish it all in one fell swoop -- he had two days left of work to do for us, shouldn't he be at our house two days in a row? No. Apparently we're not important enough to just finish all at once or something -- his modus operandi seems to be to skip from job to job to job, doing a bit on each one. Which, let's be honest, is probably why he seems to have so many scheduling problems. Whatever. He told Don that he'll "check his calendar" -- which for some godforsaken reason he is incapable of carrying with him, the reason we've had so many "I'll call you back!" conversations -- and let us know when he can come out to finish. He predicted that it would Tuesday or Wednesday. Feel free to place bets.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

totally unrelated

I don't know if anyone's looking for a house in Bedford, PA, but this place is just screaming for a houseblogger.

(Never you mind why I'm looking at houses in strange places.)

Monday, October 08, 2007

the curse strikes again

HVAC guy was supposed to be at our house at 7 AM this morning. He called at 7:20 from his basement. His water heater's broken.

We're rescheduled for Wednesday at 7 AM. Cross your fingers.

Friday, October 05, 2007

a recipe for you, from my mom

My mom is pretty awesome, guys. I mean, awesome in general, but also specifically awesome. A few days ago I emailed her this recipe from one of my favorite food blogs, with a note that mentioned that it was full of things that His Pickiness Don doesn't eat (i.e. vegetables) but hey, didn't it look awesome. This is the email I got back late last night.

From: mommy@mommy.com
To: jamaila@thisisntmyemailaddress.com
Subj: food glorious food

I am slowly feeling better. Two nights ago when I was really sick I made banana chocolate chip muffins, which are, of course, known throughout the realm for their curative powers. They are also low fat - although not if you eat three of them before falling into a feverish stupor.

Tonight I took the stuffed pepper recipe you linked to and improvised. I stuffed grilled eggplant slices, but I bet the recipe would work fine in the peppers. [Sister] came over to eat them, and she is going to make them, but maybe chop the grilled eggplant and hide it in the couscous for taking to work potluck. They're a meat and potatoes group at [sister's workplace]. Of course, the filling no longer really resembles the stuffed pepper recipe - but it is sublime:


1 1/4 cup vegetable or chicken broth
2/3 cup couscous
2 long carrots
1/2 large onion
1/2 yellow pepper (or other color)
cooking spray (preferably olive oil)
1 tsp marjoram
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup shelled unsalted pistachios (crushed)
1/2 cup raisins, preferably golden
4 oz goat cheese

pour 1.25 cups boiling vegetable or chicken broth over 2/3 cup couscous, cover (I made the couscous in the bowl I was going to mix it in and covered it with a plate.)

grate 2 long carrots, 1/2 large onion, and 1/2 a yellow (or probably any color) pepper. Spray a large frying pan with olive oil spray and heat over a medium heat. Add carrot mixture and cook 10 - 15 minutes stirring frequently or until vegetables are soft. Sprinkle 1 tsp marjoram and 1/2 tsp salt over the vegetable mix and stir in.

Add the vegetable mix to the couscous. Add 1/2 cup shelled unsalted crushed pistachios, 1/2 cup raisins (I'd prefer golden raisins, but I didn't have them), and 4 oz crumbled goat cheese. Mix together well.

Stuff whatever you are going to stuff. We stuffed the grilled eggplant rolls (10 of them) and still had half the couscous mix left - but I think maybe peppers are bigger. We baked the rolls for 20 minutes at 350 in a covered cooking spray greased pan - really just to heat them. The peppers could be baked however peppers are baked. If you just made it as pilaf, you could bake it covered for 10 miniutes or so - or it might be hot enough right after mixing. We dawdled a lot.

There should be no alien vegetables in this that Don doesn't like.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

is there something smaller than baby steps?

The HVAC guy is scheduled to come out next week to finish up, after much stalling and failing to call back and various other delaying tactics. We'll see if he shows up. I have a strong suspicion that our curse has struck again -- our last phone call appeared to catch him in a hospital. But it's not ALL the curse.

Don is trying to convince his dad to come over this weekend to get fill dirt and fill in the giant hole in our backyard where the pool was. I don't know if it'll happen or not; I think his dad wants to get a bed liner for his truck before he starts hauling any dirt around. And I KNOW he'd rather have Don get some burly youths over to help with the shoveling (like that'll happen). So we'll see.

Not a great deal going on otherwise; the depressing trend of mouthing platitudes to each other and others about how the house'll be awesome when it's done, and how we'll be living in luxury "soon" continues. There is no definition of "soon" that actually matches when this disaster will be over with, of course.

Oh, and the cat caught a gigantic bug in one of the upstairs bedrooms last night. And meowed pathetically until I came and inspected it before she killed it. That was fun.

Monday, October 01, 2007

oh, O's...

We went to the last Orioles game of the season on Sunday. The boys in orange, as usual, lost spectacularly to the Yankees. The Ravens lost, too -- Camden Yards knows its crowd and made sure to put the NFL scores up on the jumbotron, so we could all mutter dispiritedly as we saw Jamal's new team beating our other birds as sorely as the Yanks were beating the O's. Alas.

On the plus side, it was perfect baseball weather and a gorgeous day, so it was nice to be outside. And the Orioles are a fantastic community ball club even if their outfielders dropped the ball THREE TIMES. Before all of the games, there are a lot of kid and family-oriented activities, including cute ceremonies where kids get to go out on the field for the national anthem, or get to receive players' jerseys, or be shown on the jumbotron, or what have you. The club has maintained a very honest community feel at the games, which is really nice. Definitely the sort of thing you take your kids to (although Don is already plotting the best way to teach them to sprint 90 yards in the time it takes to throw a fastball -- he takes things a little further than I do).

So, a nice afternoon spent at Camden Yards. And no, we didn't buy any six dollar beers. (Six. Dollars. For Coors Lite! Good lord.)

Afterwards, I had a chance to chat with my mom for a while, and she mentioned that a house down the street from hers is for sale. I know the house; it belongs to a family friend who was a teacher of mine at one point. I used to occasionally goat-sit for them when they were on vacation (yes, they had goats -- cute ones!). Apparently they're moving, so the house and land are up for sale. The price they've got it listed for is decent; it makes me wonder what my mom's house will sell for, if she ever sells.

Now that Don is officially employed again (or at least soon-to-be -- he starts in the middle of the month), we're tentatively making plans to move forward with the house. Much depends on timing. I'll keep you posted.