Thursday, June 30, 2005

Keeping up with the Joneses
My neighbors told me today that they’re going to be on TV for a decorating show – they’ll be on HGTV’s Designer Finals. Color me – jealous? I was at first, then I did the math and concluded that I’m not. But they do get to be on TV which I’m always trying to figure out how to break into all Lucy Ricardo-style.

More details when the filming begins in early August. I’ll blog the whole thing because August will be so hot and humid I won’t be able to do anything else.

I think it may be too humid to blog. Seriously – the keys are sticking on the keyboard. And this isn’t a crappy keyboard – it is wireless.

Fancy, no?

Did I mention that it’s really, really humid and somewhat hot?

I’ve been wearing some of the worst outfits ever complete with catch-phrases like “Well, I am wearing deodorant” because I’m dressing for the commute. The commute: bus to train to train is hot, unnecessarily long, and hot. Sometimes it is complete with people carrying large pieces of luggage. Oh and no AC.

Today I got off the bus, mopped my head with a convenient tissue and proceeded to get sweat in my eye. That stuff burns. As far as looking “attractive” or even “presentable” goes – well… Let’s just say that I’m getting out the door much faster since it doesn’t matter what I do in the semi-climate controlled environs of my bathroom. Once I get outside it all melts away. Literally.
I’m on a reading tear
I finished Out last week. The book is described as a "shocking" Japanese crime thriller about women who work at a box lunch factory and must help a friend dispose of her husband's body. That's on the back of the cover - so I'm not ruining anything. Anyway - shocking - yeah but I think more people were probably shocked by the hacking and dismemberment. I've been reading Ian McEwan for a couple of months, so I wasn't shocked. It's always about the dismemberment. Anyway, while I wasn't "shocked" by the stuff I should have been shocked by - I was more shocked by the slice-of-life vignettes of Japanese society's struggling working women. The book is a great read.

Anyway - after that I dug into a “cozy” mystery (I’m a sucker for some of them since the summer of no job when I read a LOT of them), and am now immersed in the latest thriller from Preston and Childs.

Again, it is a throwback to an earlier time when I had no job and a pile of free books to keep me from decoupaging everything in my house. Was I clinically depressed? Hard to say. However, I was making arts and crafts projects like a mental patient.
Am I still hip if I buy it a year late?
I own the Franz Ferdinand album because good god I couldn’t avoid it any longer.

Also – if you love the OK GO – and you should – then please to enjoy their video. They dance and I’m pretty sure they choreographed it themselves. A Million Ways To Be Cruel is the song. (safe for work). Uhm – and the new album drops on 8/30.
I prefer the staring
We’ve hung several pictures on the wall. My husband isn’t allowed to hammer because – he makes big holes in the wall. Also, I’m thinking he may not be allowed to hang pictures because he ends up ripping the picture hanger out of the wall instead of hanging the picture. Then I have to hammer again – he’s like the Godzilla of low-rent home improvement.

Right now I have three excellent old monster movie posters hanging behind me – oddly they are all “eye” and they’re staring at me. Encouraging me to tell the Internets about things.
Tom Cruise is the best thing to happen to me in about three weeks
My work-outs at the gym have been blazing by because I’ve been talking with my trainer about TomKat.

Seriously – she’s got me doing all these weird curls and bends and crunches and things and I’m just blabbing away about Tom and how looney he is. Part of me wants him to just keep popping up on TV because he’s like three cocktail parties-worth of casual conversation.
Independence Day
My in-laws are coming.
So that can only result in conversation topics like:
Why – because you’re fat?
When will you have kids?
That is ‘spensive.
And always followed up by: because you’re fat?

That reminds me, I need to buy some of that new Peach Absolut. Luckily - they're only staying for one night.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Bad idea in homeownership #219: Face full of Pollen
Last week I put these clever little downspout things on our gutters to direct the water away from the house. You just have to roll them up after the rain – they unfurl to guide the water out – and then eventually roll back up. I thought it was more clever than getting more gutters, elbows, crimpers and big gloves.

Pleased with myself (aren’t I always) and my decision, I told Deeps that according to the instructions, eventually these little things would roll up on their own. But they don’t yet, you have to “train them” and I had to roll them up after a storm.

I noticed they had a light dusting of a sickly yellow color – probably pollen. I didn’t really think anything of it. I rolled them up, had pollen on my hands and proceeded to wipe said pollen on my pants. (They are my yard pants after all.)

We went out to run errands and about an hour later I remarked that I felt a little odd.

Deeps: Like what?
Me: Like I’m hollow and far away and light headed.
Deeps: Have you been drinking?
Me: No.
Deeps: You’re slurring your words.
Me: Really? That’s just so – I feel kinda weird.

Yeah – face full of pollen does that sometimes, you big dummy.

I remarked that maybe the pollen was the culprit. Despite never having an especially bad allergy attack or having much more than a few sneezes or itchy eyes on a bad day – it was the only thing that made sense.

Deeps: Oh is that the yellow stuff all over your pants?
Me: Uhm. Yeah.
Deeps: You’re like rolling in it – you’re freebasing pollen.
Me: That’s probably not good.
Deeps: What did you just say?

I had gone all incomprehensible with the slurring. All I can say is that it was a lot weirder than being drunk. Or the couple of days I took the Valium for head lump.

By the time we got home my eyes were watering and goopy and my head was throbbing. I was no longer talking. Deeps took me upstairs, handed me a Claritin and bid me adieu.

I curled up in the fetal position and said something approximately along the lines of “Gawwwh,” to him in return.

So there are new rules for rolling up the gutter downspout thingeys and they involve me washing my hands 9 times and wearing gloves and a hazmat suit. And Deeps will stand by with some Claritin and a glass of water. Just in case.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

That is why I pay the bills
I spent a good portion of the afternoon sorting through paperwork: mortgage info, tax bills, old cable, new cable, and our budget.

Deeps would pop his head in and look at the piles on the desk.

“What are you doing?” he’d ask.
“I’m organizing our debts so I know what to pay and when,” I replied.
“Didn’t you already do that?”
“Yes – but I got an email last week saying our company was changing our payday schedule, so I have to reconfigure everything,” I said.
“It shouldn’t be hard,” he replied.

Then he peeked over my shoulder and saw the multiple colors and dozens of line items. I color code by payment date in proximity to when we get paid – it’s all about inputs and outputs.

“Oh, right – so I was wrong,” he said. “I guess that’s why you pay the bills.”
“Pretty much,” I replied.

He paused for a moment – I could tell he was trying to figure out how to help.
“So do you want some lemonade?”
Dear heatwave:

I hate you. Thanks for killing my weekend. And almost killing my husband – using me as a vessel for your heat rage.

Also – the heat makes my cat, who is already very, very dumb, even more stupid. How is this possible? I do not know.

On the plus side, I’m combating you and your blazing bright death rays with my black-out shade – soon to be shades – because it rocks. And your pesky death rays of heat and humidity cannot penetrate their black-out, Mylar goodness.

In addition to hating the heat I hate: that we didn’t buy a house with central AC, sweating when not exercising, the heat stupids I get, the crankies, the clinging of sweaty clothes, and the melty fro-yo machine because it is so hot the ice cream people can’t keep their machines cool.

Thanks for nothing, heat wave.

Friday, June 24, 2005

If I tell this to Deeps – we’ll never get to visit
Our friends, K and Ernesto, live way up in Vermont and apparently I need to call them.

See what I have to find out FROM THE INTERNET?

Good thing they were inside.
Must've been Love
We were in a dive taco place near a hardware store last week. I spend a lotof time at the hardware store now....


The music playing when we left was an unusual song - not one I really heard much in the 80s but I did recognize it.

I turned to Deeps to share my random knowledge of 80s music.
Me: Do you know this song playing?
Deeps: No.
Me: It's called "Dancing in Heaven" and I know this because it was - what I'll call - the love theme from a little movie called "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Helen Hunt. Nothing spells “HIT!” like naming your movie after a song.
Deeps: Wow.
Me: Yep - it is from the big dance finale at the end when SJP dances with her true love and they win some big dance contest.
Deeps: That's weird.
Me: I know.
Deeps: Did you hear the song that was playing before this one?
Me: Uhm, maybe.
Deeps: "Must've been love" by Roxette.
Me: Oh yeah.
Deeps: See - now I always think of Florence when I think of Roxette.
Me: Why? Wait - the
Deeps: Taxi driver.
Me: Yeah - he was playing some.
Deeps: And he was a fan - because he was playing the CD.
Me: right
Deeps: and not the first one that was a huge hit - but the lesser- known second CD.
ME: Jesus.
Deeps: I know - I'm scary.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

I’m not making this up
Every day Deeps asks me if I’ve read anything interesting online. One day last week I mentioned that I read something about a local woman and a problem she’s having with a bird.

Apparently it really, likes her head.

He totally called me a liar. I cannot make this stuff up. Bird On Head – film at 11.
Drop-in, part deux
Deeps: Breaking news - my people are coming.
Me: Wha? (I’m always alarmed when his family shows up)
Deeps: They’ll be here next Friday night. They’re going to a wedding, so they’re going to come up and then go back.
Me: Wha…?
Deeps: Don’t worry – they have to leave early in the morning.
Me: Wha…..?
Deeps: And they are bringing air conditioners.
Me: Oh – okay.
We are family
There is a family of squirrels living in my backyard. They’re out there all the time.

In the morning I look out the backdoor (which is big and glass) and spot like 3 or 4 squirrels enjoying some kind of squirrel buffet. They’re just sitting there on their hind legs nibbling something. When I come home from work they’re chowing down again with big fat fluffy tails in the air.

I mentioned this to my friend.

Me: It kind of bugs me, these squirrels.
Friend: Why?
Me: I don’t know – I do know they drive the cat nuts. She just stares at them out the window.
Friend: Do you think they’re judging you or something?
Me: No. But they’re just all squirrely and bold and they don’t even run away when I come out.
Friend: So they’re judging you – they think you’re a wimp.
Me: Maybe.
Friend: Are other animals judging you?
Me: Just the cat.
Friend: Well, that’s to be expected.
Confidential to Nabbalicious
Yes – the BOOK does include PAGES AND PAGES about how to fix a running toilet.

Did you order it yet?

Next on my list:
The Book for Outside (aka the book for next year)
The Book for Spiffing the Place up (that'll be the book for two years from now)
That's trucker talk, sister
What's your 20 on delivering the list of requirements... blah, blah.

Seriously, I actually said that to a co-worker today. I say the darndest things.

I'm also fond of of:
What's the poop?
What's the dish?
and best one ever - Give me the bullet

Other popular phrases:
Hell's breakfast
God's nightgown
Bee's knees
On the DL
On the QT

I've learned it all from TV, the newsroom and apparently the CB radio of my childhood. My mother drove a big honking green Lincoln Continental and she was "the green hornet". Hilarious - I know.

Usually we just found out where "the smokies" were or if the weather was bad somewhere. I think once we found a bathroom due to the courtesy of a dude on the road.

What does this have to do with anything?

Nothing - but at least it isn't about the house.
The drop-ins
I think we had one drop-in during the three years we were renting in Cambridge.

We’ve lived in the house for a week and we’ve had like 3 drop-in visits. I kind of like it.

The thing about the drop-in is that you just have to let go of all your pre-conceived ideas about how your house should look when company comes to visit and just deal with your visitors. Your bathroom probably isn’t clean enough – there are wet towels on the floor. Someone could build another cat out of the dust bunnies under the couch – but whatever.

I think our drop-ins felt awkward about the dropping in. I showed them around, but I know they were afraid they'd see underwear on the floor or something equally horrible. They kept saying, "Are you sure this is okay?" Dude if it wasn't - you'd never have made it in off the porch.

We’ve also started to meet some of the neighbors. They seem nice and have been pretty friendly. Our neighbor across the driveway was particularly hilarious. She “warned” us that she and her sister have 7 kids between them and they are aged between 14 and 25. She also pointed out that several have come home recently to the “compound” (her word) for summer break.

“I hate them all,” she muttered. “The oldest boy – God, he stinks.” The grin on her face let me know she was only half serious. “We go to the Cape every weekend to get away from them, they’re everywhere.”

I guess we’ve got nothing on the Kennedys.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Is that so wrong?
I went on vacation and all I got was a bunch of unpacked boxes.

I actually look worse than before I went on vacation. I’ve been sleeping very poorly due to the giant blazing sun-filled windows around my head. I thought they were all charming – now I curse them. Must order blackout shades immediately!

And I desperately need a manicure and a pedicure. Now you may be thinking – Alyssa, why so schmancy? It’s not schmancy – I can’t find my nail clippers. Plus, after a few weeks of walking, packing, and dropping things on my feet – I should probably involve a professional.

I should note that I did get a pedicure before going to Italy. The lady was very nice – she asked me a few questions. Then she broke it down for me.

“You’re never really going to have traditionally smooth or supple feet,” she said while using something approximately like a small orbital sander on my left heel. “How much do you walk?”

“Uhm – I would say – that I keep track of…..maybe 5 miles a day,” I said.

“So you actually use your feet,” she said.

“Doesn’t everyone?” I asked.

“Probably not as much as you. So I can’t get you the world’s most beautiful feet – I can get them better,” she said. I like that she kept it real for me. I have kind of ugly feet but that’s because I walk a lot.

“And you know – that does wonder for your legs – you’ve got good legs,” she added.

Way to soften the blow.

So tomorrow, I will find someone to start scraping away the scales and general grossness – also seriously – I have freakish man claws on my hands. Then I will try to pretend like I was away from the office doing something really relaxing and fun and not scrubbing out toilets and breaking the water heater.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Two idiots with a house
Yesterday we did laundry in the new house for the first time. The washing machine has so many buttons and knobs and settings I actually felt compelled to read the manual.

So we were in the process of doing MANY loads of wash when I decided to hop in the shower as I actually had stink lines emanating from my body like Pigpen. I had hot water for a couple minutes then it gradually went tepid before turning cold.

Sensing I was in danger of getting a cold shower – I rinsed quickly. No three-minute conditioning for me.

I figured it was related to the laundry. I mentioned this to Deeps. He was suspicious – but went along with my theory. Then he tried to get hot water upstairs, no dice. No hot water downstairs either. No hot water – at all.

Now we were panicking. But we figured we’d wait it out. And we waited – still nothing. Around midnight we were officially freaking. I got out “The Book” (which is how we refer to it around the manse) and started reading up on hot water heaters. Deeps started reviewing the manuals.

Through a complicated process of elimination we determined that something must be turned off – that something stupid happened and we were likely the culprits.

Around 1 AM I found the problem – we’d accidentally turned off the “emergency” boiler on/off switch to off. It’s at the top of the stairs to the basement – we’ve been hauling dozens of boxes and bags downstairs. We must have tripped it when carrying down things for storage.

We flipped the switch, waited a moment and then heard the familiar whoosh of the boiler firing up.

“Yaay!” I cried in delirium and exhaustion.
“God, we’re such idiots,” Deeps said.
“I know – and what is worse is that we’re two idiots with a house.”

This morning we had hot water – lots of it and everywhere.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

A cluttered world – a clear mind
Despite the current clutter on the counters and table – the kitchen is unpacked. Many of my clothes are unpacked and I’ve finally chosen a closet system – I think. Tomorrow I try to install it with my trusty assistant Handy Deeps.

He is assembling everything – the little shelves for the office closet, the new TV stand (which is pretty cool considering it is a Target purchase – it is very furniture looking) and he unpacked a lot of stuff in the office. I attacked the bedroom and kitchen with the ferocity I normally show for an all-you-can-eat buffet at the India Gardens. I made a huge amount of progress and my actual attempt at planning the space seems to have paid off a bit.

We chatted with our neighbor (on the other side of the house) and he was very impressed with our level of moved-in-ness. It’s hard to figure out when you’re going to be done. I suspect we’ll be fully done about the time we’re ready to move again. But I knew that before I bought a place. I was raised by people who putter – they always have a project. If my Dad didn’t have a project I’m not sure what he’d do.

He told me the other night when I called to ask him for some ideas about grass seed that he and Slim are going to drive across the country and come for a visit sometime in July. Sweet – I hope the guest room is free of all 300 boxes we piled in there that we’d deal with “later.” I am happy to report the guest bathroom is ready for use. The only two finished rooms are the guest bath and the half bath on the first floor. Congratulations, me.

I still have to figure out how I’m commuting to work, when the tester blackout blind arrives for the master bedroom and if we’ll ever have cable upstairs. My dreams are simple.

Oh yeah, I’ve got photos of the half-finished rooms in total disarray but I can’t find the ….oh, I found it. Enjoy.
Tough Enough

Look - I'm not sure we're tough enough to live in this town. Seriously. Posted by Hello

The only finished room - the second floor bathroom. What you don't see is that under the sink - I have crammed the vanity full of cold medicines. Why? My question is why not. Posted by Hello
Okay - we're totally not finished

This was once a nice place. A family with children lived here - then they sold it to us.  Posted by Hello


Someday I'll unearth the dining table. Actually that can wait - I totally hate that thing. Posted by Hello

See how classy I am - I just leave junk on the bed so that I am forced to put it away before sleeping. Also - I cannot find the cool sheets or the new duvet. I think they escaped to the basement or possibly Canada.  Posted by Hello

See - there were a lot of boxes in the kitchen before. Posted by Hello

My kitchen is actually unpacked. This is what is left - I have to figure out where to put 900 Swiffer WetJet pads. Note to self - don't buy any more. Posted by Hello
Looks like we made it
I have new towels, some bath mats, a rug, blinds, and about million years of ache in my back. God, the ache.

So we made it in to the new place yesterday. It is fan-freaking-tastic. All that crap that people tell you, it is true. I was in the honeymoon phase.

Then the honeymoon ended sometime around 3:00 this afternoon when the cable guy told me that – despite the fact we’ve got cable outlets hardwired into each room – I can’t get cable to my bedroom on the third floor. He can’t find the connection – there’s just no juice.

What? Why go to the trouble of wiring all this crap in if I can’t use it? Honeymoon is officially over. Now we’re talking about whether or not we’d have some dude run the cable up to the third floor (it works – mysteriously – on the first and second). Would it hurt the resale value?

I swear to God we asked each other that question. My hair is flat and in my face and I look like I haven’t bathed in a week from all the sweat equity I’ve already logged into a place I’ve only slept in one night – and I’m asking about resale.

Please call the proper authorities.

In other news, our move took – literally – half the estimated/budgeted time (by both me and the moving people). We figured the move would be about 8 hours since we were going from a one floor 2-bed to a 4 floor 3-bed. We were all wrong. Once again the careful packing, planning and color-coded labeling saved me a ton of money.

The moving guys were very impressed, despite the fact they had to lug a bunch of stuff to our bedroom on the third floor. They also greatly approved of the house and the colors. Maybe they were blowing sunshine, but I felt it – they sang while they worked despite the tropical heat and humidity.

Now – I’m listening to the dulcet tones of the electric screwdriver as it is wielded by my husband. What he’s putting together now is anyone’s guess. My goal for tomorrow is to have the kitchen fully functional by noon and to have the living room unpacked and organized by 3.

Then I’ll take a nap.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Breaking News: Tube tops are the new poncho

I can’t say this is a very surprising development – but it is terrible nonetheless. Tube tops are bad people – they are architecturally flawed, unflattering on most body types and did I mention structural issues? After the winter of the poncho – why suffer through the summer of the tube top. It was a bad idea in 1973 – it is a bad idea now.

Yeah. Bad.

Other fun “fad” recently spotted: fake bullet proof vests. I have an awesome idea. Why don’t I go find one of my grandmother’s old sleeveless button-up smocks with the little pockets and wear that around, except in black. That’s what they look like. I saw a dude proudly strutting down Boylston Street wearing one over his white button down shirt, with nice trousers, decent wingtip shoes and a baseball hat (sideways – yo). Maybe he was going on a job interview.

I would have hired him immediately.

Other terrifying trends: my friend Mila reports from Chicago that gauchos are huge – just like what they do to your butt. AVOID at all costs.

That is all.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

This End Up

The Poopus parks it where she's relatively safe - at lest for now. We're in the final death throes of packing. We've gone all sweaty, non-verbal and animalistic. I predict by dinnertime we'll be communicating with a series of clicks and grunts.

Internets, radio-silence may commence soon. We've got to break down the computer and tear down the desk. See you on the other side (maybe sometime on Wednesday if all goes well.)  Posted by Hello
Like hot death
New England has winter for like 10 months. Then, apparently, we skip right into 90+ degrees and sweltering humidity. If that’s what I wanted – I would have stayed in Chicago. Summer sucks but at least I can get a decent taco.

But I digress. However, I will say that I have lost approximately half my body weight in sweat. You know when you go to the gym and work really hard for about an hour? Multiply that by like 10 hours and like 3 days – and no shower. You can see the stench wafting off of me from like 3 blocks away.

Anyway - we’re packing and packing. And now we’ve hit the point where we start to put random things in a box. Socks, a pair of boots, a camera, rolling pin, bag of rice and old phone – sure – they totally belong together.

The cat is confused but seems to be somewhat unsurprised. She’s been moved three times in three years – so I think that despite the fact her brain is approximately the size of a cashew – she’s sized up the situation. Therefore she’s found the last clear space in the house to nap in relative peace.

We ran out of boxes last night – which was unexpected – because we’re using the same boxes we moved in with 9 months ago. The new theory is that we packed things a little differently and therefore require additional boxes.

By the way, according to the weather dudes – Tropical Storm Arlene is head our way and we should have a rainy move day. That sucks, but at least it will be cooler. I suggested we wash all of our towels on Monday night to have them fresh and ready for Tuesday in case we need to dry ourselves, our stuff, or our movers.

Deeps said we should buy new towels. He doesn’t want to take the “grody” ones (aka the ones we’ve used for the past year) into the new pristine house. I told him thinking like that would mean I have to live in the driveway.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

On fire
I just finished packing the kitchen in a record 3 hours.

Did I also blow through helping a girlfriend with dating problems while sorting through and matching pans with lids? Oh yes, I did.

And did I also solve her problems (or at least point out that she could solve them) while gently packing all the dishes.

Oh yes – I did. I’m that good.

Now I smell. I think I might have some permanent marker on my face and if someone doesn’t feed me soon I’m going to start to a) cry or b) kill.

Friday, June 10, 2005

You have until July
That’s what I was told by an acquaintance today: I only have until July to talk about house stuff, and then I have to move on to other topics.

I guess that’s fair. But man, I’m going to have to like take up some hobbies or something. Now I’m thinking about the porcelain doorknob with the nickel finish that Deeps grabbed when I left him alone (aka unsupervised) at the Giant Box Store. I don’t know what it is for, but I shudder to think about it.

Also – it has been discerned that I may have to buy another sander. I couldn’t possibly be more excited. Belt sander or orbital? So many choices, so little time.
Room darkening vs. blackout?
I’m going to have to order some custom blinds for the master bedroom (I thought I might suck it up with the burnt sienna, but I recognize I’m not strong enough). So I ask you – should I get the room darkening or the blackout?

I am leaning towards blackout because that sounds pretty dark and that’s what I like while I’m sleeping. But room darkening is a bit cheaper and gives me slightly more color options.

Anyone have one or the other? I ask you Internets – what do I do?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

I wanted bright and cheerful
God did I get it. Looking at the photos I realize the house doesn’t photograph well in low light with a blinding flash. Plus – I think my monitor colors are a little wonky.

But overall, I’m pleased. Yes - I know I'll have to repaint when we sell. But we've only owned it a week. Let me live the dream!

Since we’ve lived in lots of apartments, our furnishings tend to be pretty neutral – so the colors will help them to pop a bit more. And the neutrals help to tone down the colors. Plus I have about 19,000 pieces of art to hang.

We stuck with white trim and white blinds to keep the color scheme simple and crisp. It seems okay for now. If I hate it, I’ll paint again. I sound like someone from Weekend Warriors.

I already know there’s going to be some touch up work in the office because let’s just say some “boo boos” were made.

In other news – we’re less than a week away from the move. The painter is paid off, blinds are in, rug is ordered, and I think I might even have enough cash left over to start to furnish the basement. Or buy patio furniture.

Or better yet – buy a patio.
You'll think I'm crazy with the color
Master bed before and after - the closet (to the right) is the old color (eggshell/cream) and the walls are now a relaxing aqua color. I couldn't adore the colore more. Also - don't fret about the burnt sienna blinds. Those are going.... Posted by Hello

Before the kitchen was a mellow gray-green. I needed something with more vibrancy and again to show more contrast between the cabinets and the walls. Posted by Hello

Kitchen after - the color looks more granny smith apple in person. It's very refreshing and inspriring. I can almost imagine cooking here.  Posted by Hello

The office before - the color was nice, but we wanted something a bit more stimulating. Posted by Hello

Office after - you can really see the contrast between the old shade (which is what we left the radiator) and the newer golden shade. I think the monitor makes the color look more greenish/gold than it is. It's much more goldenrod. Posted by Hello

Before - the yellow was nice. But we wanted something that would be more high contrast with our beigey/khaki furniture. Posted by Hello

The living room is a zippy grass green now - I think all of our khaki furniture and dark woods will pop against the walls. At least, that's what I tell myself.  Posted by Hello

Book Nook - before Posted by Hello

Book Nook - After - the green is a little less intense in person. And notice that we have sexy cellular shades now.  Posted by Hello
Book report
I’ll write more about these at some point, but I finished four books in the past couple of weeks. (The Italy trip was very productive – I blew through two books and started a third.)

For now, my short review:
We Thought You Would Be Prettier by Laurie Notaro – I won't lie, this book is not as great as her first two books (which are side-splitting), but still very enjoyable and funny. I liked it.

The Magic Circle by Katherine Neville – I bought this book because I’d read her first book when I was like 14. Lesson to self: stuff you like when you’re 14, you might not like when you’re 30. This was the stupidest book I’ve read in a while. Ouch.

The Alienist by Caleb Carr – I got around to reading this “hot” book about 7 years after it came out. I’m like that – I wait for paperback. It was slow to build but more interesting and engrossing than I’d expected. I might look for some of his other stuff. Also, totally perfect to read on the train.

I’m Not the New Me by Wendy McClure – I really liked this book. It was funny and moving and sad and good all at the same time. I’ve read Pound for a while so I was familiar with some of her story, but the book was pretty honest about her life and struggles with her weight – and she was totally open. Brutally open with some of her stories – like cringeworthy. But that’s all good.

Next – I’m reading a book called OUT which is described on the back with words like “not for the faint of heart” and “gritty” and “shows a seedy underbelly” and is about four Japanese women who work in one of those box lunch factories. I’m like 15 pages in and am totally hooked – and I think someone is going to end up dismembered and in one of those lunches. I’m just playing a hunch here…..

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

We regret to inform you
I’ve gotten some bad news about Professor Murder. Apparently she’s contracted the dreaded mange. (Which isn't bad and is terribly common - but you know...)

Yep – she’s got a little patch on her leg. I haven’t seen it – but I heard about it. Her owners (really, let’s just call them what they are parents) are disappointed. But on the bright side this condition has resulted in the dog being forced to WEAR CLOTHES to help deter the scratching of the spot.

So now the bulldog is walking around all tough in her camo t-shirt. I’m praying I’ll get a picture at her owners’ cookout on Saturday.
Before and After
I think the painters are finishing up the master bedroom tonight. Which means tomorrow I can take the “after” photos of the newly painted rooms.

I’m really pleased with the kitchen and the living room looks good – despite the intense color. I think the color will settle when we move in our stuff and it is no longer a 30 foot empty room. That’s intimidating.

And I’m very pleased with the new blinds – we were able to do a little creative shopping to find off-the-shelf solutions for the lower floors that offered adequate privacy, light and style for a pretty affordable price.

Plus I love any excuse to use my drill – it has a built in level. That’s good stuff.
You can do it, we can’t help
I’ve been to a large box home improvement store for several days in a row. We bought painting supplies one day. Ordered a rug another. And picked up blinds on a third.

On the fourth I asked about some special epoxy to make a fix on a window (no help on that front). I’ll admit – by day four I had no faith in getting a good answer or any helpful advice on the topic. I can barely find stuff in the poorly labeled and organized place and there’s only ever ONE register open. Ridiculous.

Anyway, I also asked about something a bit simpler that I felt more confident I’d get a good answer on.

I marched up to the people working at the window display – poised confidently in front of a sign for GIANT NAMEBRAND WINDOW COMPANY.
Mustache Man: Can I help you?
ME: Yes. I’m looking for a silicone lubrication spray for my GIANT NAMEBRAND WINDOWS.
Mustache: (looks confused) Caulk is in the paint department.
ME: What? No. I want some silicone spray that I can use to help make it easier to open my windows. (I make the sliding up and down motion like I’m opening and closing a window.)
Mustache: For Double-hung windows?
ME: Yes.
Mustache: I’m not sure we have that. You should try the paint department.


I think the dude was confused because a) I was a woman asking b) a question with the correct terminology. Like on a scale of what is totally opposite, you could absolutely use silicone caulk and silicone lubrication spray as an example.

I mentioned this to a colleague today and he started laughing when I told him. “At least he didn’t tell you to use WD40 that would have messed up your windows” he replied. Which is true – and I knew that and then confirmed it by reading the stupid book.

Stupid window guy. I’m starting to see a trend develop at some of these big box home stores. They are not ready for the women. Guess what – I’m ready for them.
The sleep of the righteous
Postings have been spotty this week due to HOUSE. HOUSE has taken over everything – again. But this time the manifestations are physical.

I’m still achey from painting on Saturday and drilling and hanging blinds on Sunday. Then I trained yesterday because I thought that might help. It didn’t. It did – but you know – sore. Ow - I'm doing the old-lady shuffle.

My noggin is less swollen and sore which is a major improvement. And with the hottening – well, let’s just say I’ve hit a knew level of exhaustion. And now I sleep the sleep of the truly physically, emotionally, and psychically exhausted. It is fantastic.

If only the cat would buy into it and stop knocking things off my nightstand in protest. The box count has increased and she’s getting suspicious that something is afoot.

Monday, June 06, 2005

The hottening
I’m not really built for the heat – ask anyone. They take one look at me and say “get thee a hat and some SPF 400, stat!” I’m more of a Spring/Fall gal. But since I’ve chosen to move to a part of the country where winter meanders into summer – things are different.

I’m spending a lot more time sweating.

As a full fledge homeowner for approximately 3 days, Deeps and I decided a clear, warm, sunny weekend was the right time to do some projects: paint the office and hang the blinds on the first floor. Oh yeah - and there was a tremendous amount of sweating.

Good God, what have I done to myself? First – the painting was okay. Then there were some “boo-boos” because Deeps has never painted before. Despite picking up some handy little tools I realized too late that he needed more guidance, supervision and painters’ tape. By the time we made it through two coats of Firefly I was dripping with sweat and totally exhausted.

I’m starting to wish central AC had been a mandatory requirement and not merely a “wish”. But I digress. This morning I pulled myself out of our overly warm bed and felt the ache – it ran from my lower back to my ankles. I’d taken the low road on the cutting in and was paying for it dearly.

Deeps got up and told me he was ready to paint again. I told him he’d have to do it with “a man down”. We compromised by having blinds cut to fit the large windows on the first floor.

The windows had been covered with Navy blue mini blinds that didn’t quite go with our new sassy green walls. The painters had finished up late last night and this morning we anxiously inspected their work. No doubts about it – those walls are GREEN. It’s hard to look at it without your stuff in place, but I think it will be vivid and refreshing – or not. I like it.

And now our blinds are up and we swapped out the glass panel for the screen in the storm door out front. We hung a new bathroom mirror as well. We ate some kind of sandwich and headed home for a siesta. The hottening is great, the aches are subsiding, and next weekend we push through with the final packing as the big moving day arrives in less than 9 days.

This is what it will be like for us now…. We've got to move. And then the next big project is a closet system installation and the task of tediously touching up our crappy paint job on the second floor.

I guess we need to put in some AC too – I can’t keep up the pace of sweating half my body weight every day. Someone is going to start complaining about the stench.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

But what do you really think?
A friend and colleague was in town from Chicago for business. We met for a very speedy lunch before she headed off to the airport. I took her to a little local Tex-mex place because if you eat at the bar the service is pretty fast.

“So how are the enchiladas?” she asked me.
“Look – I’m not going to lie to you,” I said turning to face her and mustering up as much gravity as possible. “I’ve never lived in a place where I hear people talk about whether or not food is spicy on such a regular basis.”
“Okay – what does that mean about the enchiladas?” she replied.
“We’re in Boston,” I told her. “We’re not over in Pilsen or even at the King Taco II (a former favorite haunt in Chicago).”
“Right,” she said.
“You really can’t go wrong with the sandwiches here. Or the fish. Play to their strengths.”

Then I commented on how there was no readily available hot sauce anywhere – you always have to ask for it.

I suggested it might be because hot sauce is “dangerous.” Then about 4 minutes later a man started yelling and gesturing and saying “I got hot sauce in my eye!” He ran around to find water to flush it out.

I wish I was making that last part up. But I do always appreciate when people help to make my point for me. Way to take one for the team.
Dream Journal
Deeps bought this little notebook to start writing down measurements and info about the house. He picked it up a few months ago when we were still looking at lots of places and trying to keep track of issues we faced with different prospective homes: new floors, bad roof, weird windows – etc.

Now he’s got approximately 4000 types of measurements and notes about the place we bought. The notes function as ideas about how to address problems and what we might want to do in the future (replace the former owner’s burnt sienna window shades in the bedroom with something that will better match our “new” blue walls).

He calls it the Dream Journal. I’m not really sure who called it that first – it is a snarky name so I’m the likely culprit. Tonight we hit the HD to find some things and attack our first “dream journal” project: painting the office.

Now this may be complicated – and confusing – because we’re actually hiring professional painter people to come paint the main public living spaces (the first floor) and our master suite. Which leaves the second floor to us – the rooms are smaller and more manageable.

And we liked the colors – at first. We’d planned to leave them as-is or do them later. Then the Project Virus struck. Deeps got extremely motivated.

“But I want a project,” he said flipping through the book. Who am I to deny the man his wish? Honey, go nuts.

We’ve got tarps, scrapers, spackle, sandpaper, rollers, cutting in tools, and brushes – in the morning we get the paint. And we picked up speculative window blinds and a rug. Because what the hell – we’re going for broke.

Deeps was all atwitter as we drove back in the dead of night. He started asking questions about primer and paint and would we need two coats. Then in a moment of panic he turned to me.

“What do I wear to paint?” he asked. “I mean – I’m probably wearing my like most flop-like outfit.” He gestured to his khaki pants and a slightly rumpled blue shirt. “And I don’t think I have any shoes.”

Yes – I’ve raised him right. His biggest concern is his fashion.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Patient update
I took the Valium about two hours before I went to bed. About an hour after I took it, Deeps started peppering me with questions.

Deeps: So do you feel all weird and high?
Me: No.
Deeps: Is it helping with the pain?
Me: No.
Deeps: So what is it doing?
Me: It’s making me not care about the pain.
Deeps: That’s kind of creepy.
Me: I know. This could be a problem.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

I declare
When we met our real estate agent about three months ago we jokingly said we were looking for a house because we thought we were ready to be grownups.

Our agent reminded us of that after the closing, while handing over a bottle of champagne.

“Congratulations – welcome to adulthood,” she said.
Meanwhile I was “whoo-hooing” like a moron on the street with my champagne and Deeps was walking way ahead of us to the car. Whatever man.

I then mentioned that adulthood would be something I’d ease into. After all, just a couple of weeks ago I spent some quality time sassing the customs guy at Logan.

“Why were you in Italy?” he asked us.
Deeps: Vacation
Me: To party like rock stars.

“Do you have anything to declare?” he asked.
Deeps: No.
Me: I declare that I had an AWESOME time in Italy.
Better than last year
Yesterday was our wedding anniversary – which we marked by eating some slightly burned pizza while being totally surrounded by women. (And no there were no gifts – isn’t the new house gift enough? Although our friend pointed out that the three-year anniversary is the “leather” one. Kinky.)

Anyway, we were at this little schmancy pizza place and the place was packed – with women. Deeps and another guy were the only dudes. Maybe it was ladies night.

Afterwards I demanded ice cream to cleanse my palette of the burned pepperoni and we headed to the place where they have like 4000 flavors of soft-serve fro-yo. We ate our ice cream in the parking lot and watched the cars pull in and kids run inside.

Shortly before we left we saw a large Buick pull in and an old man get out and walk slowly to the door. He returned a minute later with two large soft-serve cones. He walked around to the driver’s side door and handed his wife an ice cream through the window.

Deeps commented that we’ll be like that someday.
I pointed out that we already are.
Escape from head wound mountain
I’ve had to take a couple of partial personal days during the past like – year or so – for really weird visits to the doctor.

My boss is very cool about it, but when I tell her why I’m going (she never asks, I’m Midwestern and volunteer info) I feel like I’m telling the worst lie ever. But these things are totally true and only happen to me.

First there was the tongue cancer fear – and the tongue biopsy. Today I went to the doctor – an emergency visit! – because I have a giant lump on the back of my head.

The lump appeared on Monday – I felt it on the back of my head, near the base of my skull on the right side of my head. I was like – wow that’s a stress lump. Tuesday the lump was still there. It was a little bigger and very tender. It hurt when touched and I didn’t sleep well that night. Wednesday the lump started to throb – like tension headache and my neck started to hurt. I barely slept. Today my range of motion for my head and neck was so limited I started to suspect I’d gotten whiplash. I just couldn’t figure out from what.

So I begged my doctor this morning to let me in for an afternoon session. She said – of course, Lumpy.

I ran into my boss and showed her the lump. I also forced no less than 6 different people to touch my lumpy noggin. Each time asking “Would you like to touch my lump?” then wincing when they touched it (because it hurts like you wouldn’t believe) then followed up with “Now that is not normal – right?” Because I’m constantly searching for affirmation for my self-diagnosed medical conditions. People are exceptionally polite - but really, who wants to touch someone's nasty head lumps?

The doctor was nice and we chatted about my symptoms. She noticed the stiff neck and weird upper body turn since it is harder to turn my head (and neck). She asked me the usual questions:

Did you bump your head?
Were you in any accidents?
You’re sure you didn’t bump your head?
Yep – I haven’t.
Have you had a cold or any allergic reactions?

She then said I had an inflamed lymph node at the base of my skull. Sure, I’ve got one on each side of my neck, but only one is activated. So that’s causing the neck spasms and pain and general weirdness. Why it is inflamed remains a mystery. She gave me two prescriptions.

“Are you familiar with Valium?” she asked.
“Yes – from Mr. Burt Reynolds,” I replied. Which is totally where I first heard about Valium. The doctor regarded me with what can only be described as a dubious look - and told me to take it at night because “you’ll be very, very relaxed. And don’t drive afterwards.”

I haven’t taken one yet. I did take one of the 800 mg. Ibuprofens she gave me. Seriously, that has just barely taken the edge of the pain that is a dull throb that is sometimes interrupted by a piercing throb that rockets from my neck through my head.

It hurts a lot but is still better than the time I broke my wisdom tooth and had an exposed root and had to wait four days for an emergency extraction.

Now that was a humdinger.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Italians, your driving doesn’t scare me
You hear it in movies and people will warn you – beware the Italian drivers. The taxis will try to murder you. I wasn’t totally convinced…

We didn’t have a lot of cause to drive or ride in taxis. But we did have to drive up to the Villa for the wedding. Our taxi driver picked us up around 5 PM and zipped through rush hour traffic and up the hill – zigging and zagging until we arrived at the house. Several other people arrived in their cabs around the same time and literally stumbled out of the car all freaked out.

I was totally unmoved by our trip. Just picture it: lanes of speeding cars converging with little or no traffic coordination outside the notion of “yield” and a rotary: it was very, very familiar.

It was eerily like driving in and around Boston.


He’s special
Today, to celebrate the purchase of our home, Deeps suggested we hit the JP Lick’s to get some ice cream. No I did not make up the name.

Anyway, with no coaxing by the staff my husband ordered the El Diablo waffle cone which is a regular old waffle cone that was filled with chocolate ice cream – chocolate ice cream that was enhanced with cinnamon and cayenne pepper.

I can’t really describe the taste accurately – of course I had to try some – but the flavor hits you in waves. First the chocolate, then the cinnamon (near the back of your mouth) and finally the cayenne hits the back of your throat and burns.

It was weird, but not bad. Not unlike your decision to buy a house.