Monday, April 30, 2012

Sometimes Life Kicks You In The Shins

Being kicked in the shins isn't horrible, but it certainly isn't pleasant and that's why it's a great metaphor for today. Nothing horrendous has happened today. There have been no natural disasters and no one's eye has fallen out of their head (yet). However, nothing has gone the way it should.

I had a horribly gruesome dream last night. It involved a witch who owned a rest stop/convenience store. Over the course of the dream, she kept casting spells on her patrons, forcing them to kill themselves or their loved ones. Parents were forced to kill their children. People committed suicide in imaginative and macabre ways. Like all my dreams, it was very vivid and detailed and therefore not at all pleasant. Fortunately, I almost always know I'm dreaming, and I'm rarely in my dreams (it's more like I'm an invisible bystander or watching it all on IMAX); this means that dreams like this aren't scary, per se. I didn't feel like I was in danger. But I also couldn't stop watching and that wasn't great.

Then the alarm went off and it was Monday. And it was raining. Also, I ran out of hot water in the shower.

Then R was all short tempered and snappy. This is very unusual and is a direct result of his anxiety about his dissertation. He's almost finished with it, but is under time pressure and is, you know, acting human. But knowing that doesn't make it any more pleasant for me. Especially first thing in the morning. So I retreated to my office, grumbling under my breath.

However, instead of the work I had planned to do, I was met by an email requesting that I do different work. And it's due today, so rush rush rush.

Also, I'm wearing my last clean pair of underwear* and I need to wash pants and all the dog bed covers need washed. I don't even want to talk about that last thing.

*Technically this is a lie. I have plenty of clean underwear, but not the kind I prefer to wear, which are soft and anti-chaffing.

So, kicked in the shins. Hopefully the bruise is gone by this afternoon, when the sun comes out and my husband comes home in a better mood. However, the forecast doesn't look good.

P.S. Shortly after I posted this, I spilled hot chocolate on my laptop (it's drying - wish me luck) and then when I was rinsing out my cup in the sink, somehow water ran all down the inside of the arm of my sweatshirt. Le sigh.

P.P.S. I just tried to flush the toilet and the handle broke off inside the tank. No joke. I will stop touching things for the rest of the day.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

As Promised

I give you pictures of the work we did on our new house. There isn't much else going on in this entry, so feel free to leave. But if you are interested in glimpsing the amount of manual labor that goes into redoing your floors, have a peak.
Here's the main room upstairs:
The carpet we removed (And donated to Habitat for Humanity's Restore - recycle and/or reuse whenever possible. Okay, that's the end of the public service announcement.). See all those specks to either side of the carpet? Yeah, those are staples. We had to remove all of them. Also all the nail board around the edge of the room. The prep work was tedious and character building.
 The boxes we lugged to and fro. Each box weighed 45 lbs and they didn't stack themselves.
 The work in progress.
And, Ta Da! A completed room with floors and furniture and everything.

But wait, there's more! Here's some pics of the family room:
 More (heavier) carpet. On this floor, instead of staples we had to scrape off glue. Also, not shown, the enormous amount of carpet pad that had to be disposed of.
 After the floor was prepped, there was painting to do.
Then more lugging of boxes, more cleaning, etc. Also, note that plastic has to lay over the concrete. fortunately, this flooring was pad-attached, or else we would have had to lay padding as well.
And we are left with a beautiful floor! I am very pleased with both the color and the pattern of this laminate. It is very realistic looking with a lot of pattern variability. It's Timberland Western Pecan, if you're wondering.
P.S. We hired a contractor to help us with the tricky bits (around the fireplace, the angles of the bar, and just to ensure that everything was square). To save money, R and I did all the prep work and the contractor let us use his tools when he wasn't around, so we could do the easier runs ourselves. I highly recommend this arrangement.
This is what the dogs did while we were bustin' our butts.

And, what do yo know? They still do it, but now more comfortably.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Maybe A Vortex? Under The Bed?

SO, as I mentioned here, I planned to share before and after pictures of the new house and all the crazy manual labor that happened after we bought it. I am happy to report that those pictures now digital form*. The real barrier to sharing them with you is that I haven't found the cable to my camera.

*The majority of said pictures obviously existed before. I do not yet have a time machine, so the before and during pictures were, in fact, taken before and during the manual labor. I just hadn't gotten around to the after pictures. Just thought I should clarify. No time machine yet.

The fuck?

I have unpacked 95% of the house and apparently my box o' cables is in the other 5%. Maybe its a ninja box? Because there are not many more places left to look. Or, perhaps it took off with the box of super important papers that my husband put somewhere so they would be easy to find? I don't know. Maybe this new house is a portal to another dimension. A dimension desperately in need of USB cables.

In the meantime, enjoy this poor quality webcam snapshot taken through a dirty window. This is the view from my home office!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I Almost Had An Imaginary Friend

I wanted something special, something that no one else could have, and, according to several children’s books and cartoons, an imaginary friend was the perfect, unique accessory. I thought up several.

The first one was a vampiress that lived in my closet. Her name was Roxie and she was dark and angry. She was approximately twenty when she had died and she terrified me, or at least that’s what I told myself. Her dark voice would hiss suggestions from under my bed and from the darkest shadows of my summer forts, trying to taunt me into doing things I shouldn’t. Ultimately, I grew tired of imagining what she looked like and what she wanted; also, I was pretty sure that my parents and teachers would begin to worry in that adult, serious way that signaled the end of childhood freedom if I told them about her. Even at five, I knew that believing (or trying to believe) in a blood sucking ghoul who pushed you to be naughty would raise an alarm. And what was the point of having an imaginary friend if no one knew you had one? So I gave her up, a bit sorry that she hadn’t been more convincing and promising myself I would do better in the future.

A year later, my best friend Perry and I came up with a whole slew of imaginary creatures. They were fantastical things, some small enough to fit in our pockets, and one large enough that we could ride him around the playground, causing us to whoop and leap across the frosty grass. But the true purpose for their creation was to try and convince the other kids that they were real. They were real and only the two of us could see them. The problem was that we both could see them, and my interest in maintaining their existence was quickly exhausted. I convened a meeting, and with the spring sun shining weakly down on the two of us, I informed Perry that I didn’t believe in the creatures we had invented. He expressed a similar sentiment, and we wandered off in pursuit of other games – Perry keeping one hand conspicuously in his pocket.

The following summer, I successfully manipulated my parents into getting me a cat. Not just any cat, but the runt of a litter of five kittens. She was a vibrantly-colored, striped tabby who looked nothing like her spotted siblings or parents. I named her Tiger and she quickly grew to fit the moniker. When I brought her home, she could fit in my cupped hands, but after a single year she had become the biggest cat we ever had before or since. She was an amazing hunter, bringing home mice and hummingbirds alike. She was also fearless, and soon all the neighborhood dogs learned to give her a wide birth.

She was a remarkably unique cat. First of all, she couldn’t make a sound. Her mouth would open, but nothing could come out, though she was able to purr very, very quietly. Also, she hated being laughed at. Laughing, in general, was fine, but direct it at her and she would shoot you a withering glare and stalk out of the room. But best of all, Tiger hated everyone. Everyone but me. She allowed the other members of my family to see her, but never touch her. And she simply disappeared when anyone else was around.

Finally, I had my own imaginary friend. One that curled up in my lap, purring oh-so-softly, her weight comforting against my legs. Yet, poof, she would disappear in the blink of an eye whenever anyone headed our way.  She met my need for something dark and dangerous, leaving me gifts of heads and entrails from her kills, making me feel special. She even gave me the opportunity to try and convince my friends she was real, as none had ever seen her. She was a great cat, and I miss her.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Yes, I Still Live... But Barely

Internet, I apologize profusely for my long absence. We bought that house (Squee!) and that set off a series of events that have taken up all of my time.

We removed more than 1700 square feet of carpet. The carpet was in good shape, in fact the nearly-white carpet in the downstairs was almost just wouldn't have stayed that way once we moved in. I don't know who can manage to keep light-colored carpet stain free, but it isn't me. And since I have vowed to never live with carpet again*, we donated it to the Habitat for Humanity Restore.

*True story. Not only is R allergic to 90% of the world, carpets are designed to collect these allergens; also, we have dogs that have, at different times, bled on, puked on, and tracked poop onto previous carpets. Shudder. So carpet has been blacklisted in my household for health and sanity related reasons.

R and I then prepped the floors (removing all the baseboard trim and doors, then pulling out/scraping off all the nail boards, glue, and staples from the sub floor) and hired an independent contractor to help us put in laminate flooring. We ordered 110 boxes of flooring, which each weighed 45 lbs. a piece. That's literally a ton and a half of flooring! A ton and a half of flooring that we loaded and unloaded, then carried, pushed and pulled around our new house.

Oh, and since we didn't want to do anything half-ass, I also painted most of the downstairs and two bedrooms. I even did a little something special on the someday-nursery ceiling.
For three weeks we performed vast amounts of manual labor, arriving hours before the contractor and staying at the new house long after we would normally go to bed. Of course, we aren't pansies. We maintained jobs the whole time, too. Basically, it was a self-enforced boot camp for academics - shaping us into calloused workers with aching backs and knees. (sleep is for chumps)

After three long weeks, we were done! Then we only had to clean up our mess (AHHH, the sweeping! The dust!), pack, move all our stuff out of our rental, pick up our new furniture and appliances, clean the rental and unpack. Seriously, I don't know what took us so long. Sheesh.

We are in the final throes of unpacking. Just filtering in all the bits and bobs. I had planned to wait to write this update until I had pictures of all the completed work, but that hasn't happened yet. I do have before and during pictures, which I will post once I get the after pictures taken.

In the meantime, we are enjoying the good weather. (It's been nice for 5 whole days in a row!! That is in direct opposition to the rain and snow storms we had the entire time we were moving!) Our view and neighborhood are amazing and we couldn't be happier. In take our free moments, we are trying to take the time to bask in our efforts, our new house, and all the stuff we filled it with. I have never felt more American.